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Charms of the President

by Tom Carrier (01/18/08).
Ronald Reagan issued a pewter charm for his second Inauguration in 1985
Silver charm issued as a presidential gift by Richard Nixon, c. 1970s, reverse
Silver charm issued as a presidential gift by Richard Nixon, c. 1970s
Gold charm issued as a presidential gift by Richard Nixon, c. 1970s, reverse
Gold charm issued as a presidential gift by Richard Nixon, c. 1970s
Silver charm issued at the Inaugural Ball 1961, reverse
Silver charm issued at the Inaugural Ball 1961

When speaking of the charms of the president of the United States, it is usually more of a warm feeling than a physical item. But, no, I am referring to the small commemorative item worn on a bracelet. For a while, presidents gave these out as well as cuff links and tie bars.

The examples of charms I have go back to the Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan eras.

For example, the charm featuring both Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy was given out in both gold and silver plated versions at the Inaugural Ball on January 20, 1961. By tradition, the inaugural medal of a first term president doesn’t feature the vice president. Lyndon Johnson, a newly elected vice president, didn’t like that and insisted, as only he could, that he be featured as well. Finally, the story goes, he compromised by having these charms issued with both his and Kennedy’s profiles on the obverse and distributed at the Inaugural balls.

The second version of charms I have are actually official gifts given by President Richard Nixon while in office. One charm is silver and the other is 10k gold plated. They may have been presented in a presentation box, but have since been separated.

President Ronald Reagan made a charm with a charm bracelet available for sale for his Inauguration in 1985. This may be the only time a charm with bracelet was offered as part of the official Inaugural gift catalog.

There must be others. Perhaps you can help identify other presidential charms?

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