You look good. Very good. Crisp, white shirt with cobalt blue studs and cobalt blue, official presidential George W. Bush cuff links to match. Black tie and tux. Wonderful overcoat and cashmere scarf. Your new shoes shined to perfection. Limousine waiting. Your date is matching perfection. Ready to attend the President’s State of the Union speech? Good. Tell me, though, are you wearing the real George W. Bush?
What, you ask? Your cuff links, of course. There is an 8 to 1 chance that your cuff links are a knockoff. If you so much as attempt to show them off with your State of the Union buddies, they will know. You don’t need that, so let me show you how I know your cuff links aren’t authentic – just so you know.
First of all, look at the box they came in. Official presidential cuff links are not packaged in a plush, dark blue leatherette case with gold trim and a gold, silkscreen, presidential coat-of-arms inside. Second, the outer, dark blue, cardboard box with the same gold, silkscreen coat-of-arms isn’t authentic either. Your cuff links, my friend, were probably reproduced by an offshore, commercial company and sold to outlet stores, on online auctions, and directly to collectors as authentic — but are really what we euphemistically label as ‘commemoratives.’ Or reproductions. Or fakes.
The cobalt blue, presidential cuff link was introduced by Richard Nixon in the 1970s. They are very stylish with the dark blue background and raised, bas relief presidential eagle in gold, surrounded by 50 inlaid gold stars and gold roping around the edge (the early ones from Nixon to Reagan didn’t have this roping). These early ones are extremely rare. Presidents gave sets of these special cuff links only to the most deserving of individuals. Still do. There are other styles of cuff links that are given out more often, but not these.
Because of their rarity and beauty, these cobalt blue, presidential cuff links proved more popular. Everyone had to have them. So I can see why you would want them. And so, beginning in Bill Clinton’s second term or so, we’ve noticed that this most rare of presidential gifts was becoming rather plentiful. They were being offered everywhere all of a sudden at very high prices. How come? They were being manufactured and made available outside official channels.
So, what do the real ones look like, you ask? Quite the same, I’m afraid. I said they look alike, but you can tell the difference easily. First of all, the authentic cuff link itself is heavier and thicker than the ‘commemorative’ ones. On the reverse side, the signatures of George W. Bush are supposed to be engraved horizontally, not curved like yours are. The ‘G’ and the ‘W’ are not connected, they are separate. The correct, engraved signature connects the ‘G’ and the ‘W’.
Therefore, you now have five ways to tell whether your cuff links are ‘commemorative’ rather than authentic.
- One, the inner box is not supposed to be a dark blue leatherette,
- Two, the outer box is not supposed to be a dark blue cardboard,
- Three, the cuff link is very light in weight and smaller,
- Four, the signature is curved instead of horizontal, and
- Five, the ‘G’ and the ‘W’ are separated.
Wait, I didn’t say how the real cuff links are packaged? You’re right. I didn’t. Just like the program ‘McGyver’, they always left out one important step so their on-screen escape sequences couldn’t be duplicated at home. I’m going to be like McGyver and not show you what kind of box the authentic cuff links come in so they won’t be duplicated and be confused with the authentic ones. Sorry.
Still, wear the ‘commemoratives.’ Nothing wrong with that. They look great on you. Just don’t show off, that’s all. Those with the real things will know.
But, if you are caught with that “knowing look,’ you might say that, yes, these cuff links are great, aren’t they? Well, they aren’t the real things, of course. No, I don’t want to wear my real ones outside in case they might be lost or damaged. Much like your date’s diamond necklace. Then, move fast.
NOTE: If you are paying less than $100 for a pair of presidential cobalt cuff links, they are fake. Authentic cobalt presidential cuff links are very rare and can cost upwards of $250 a pair. Also, any president before Richard Nixon did not produce cobalt cuff links. Lastly, sometimes the manufacturer ‘forgets’ to remove the small piece of metal between the eagle’s wings and the olive branch and between the eagle’s wing and the arrows of war, like the photo above found on Ebay. That is a sure sign that the cuff links are ‘commemorative.’