WorthPoint was a sponsor of the American Presidential Experience, a travelling exhibit of presidential history, as part of the festivities surrounding the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo., in August 2008. While there, WorthPoint Worthologists evaluated all manner of usual and historic political and presidential memorabilia brought in by visitors and delegates alike.
I was particularly delighted to be able to evaluate a series of campaign programs and tickets brought in by a visitor named Dennis, who lives nearby in Denver.
“Well, my dad was involved pretty highly with the Democratic National Committee and he went to a fundraising event for John Kennedy,” Dennis said. “He had the program and after it was over he went up and just got it signed by himself and his wife.” The fundraiser for John F. Kennedy was in Seattle in late 1959, where he was accompanied by his wife, Jacqueline, a rather rare occurrence. Since it was always difficult to get an authentic John F. Kennedy signature and even rarer to have Jacqueline Kennedy’s signature alongside her husband’s, the pair of signatures were valued between $1,000 and $1,500.
I mentioned that the reason these set of programs and tickets were so significant was because they were signed. One of the things we encourage collectors to do is to actually have someone sign a program or something dated. The reason is that we can then place the person at an event and know that the provenance is correct.
Dennis then produced a 1960 dinner program honoring Adlai Stevenson, a former governor of Illinois and twice Democratic presidential candidate in 1952 and 1956. He was later United States Ambassador to the United Nations under President John F. Kennedy. This particular program was signed by Adlai Stevenson and a very young Ted Kennedy, who was not yet a U.S. Senator. The values of the signatures are within the $35 to $65 range each.
Lastly, Dennis produced a set of two tickets for a 1966 fundraising event featuring Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and Rep. Brock Adams. One ticket was signed by Robert Kennedy and has a value of about $200 to $250. The ticket signed by Brock Adams has a value of about $30 to $35.
Dennis brought all of these signed programs and tickets in their original photo album pages—the kind where the static electricity keeps the photos in place. Not a good environment for such important historical artifacts. The photo album pages are full of acid that will eventually eat at the paper of the program and tickets and cause blemishes called “foxing.” Over time, the foxing will cause the paper to become brittle, which will negatively affect the value of the signatures themselves. I suggested that they be placed in an acid-free envelope and kept in an acid free environment to prevent further decay.
Dennis decided he didn’t want to sell the items, instead keeping them as a sentimental link to his late father and allowing them to increase in value over time for his own kids. Good choice for some very choice presidential and political memorabilia.
Watch a video of Tom Carrier talking with Dennis about his Kennedy autographs by clicking here .
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