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Secret Service Collectibles

by Tom Carrier (01/20/08).
US Secret Service lapel pin, Reagan era
US Secret Service lapel pin, Johnson era
US Secret Service challenge coin for Las Vegas Field Office, reverse
US Secret Service challenge coin for Las Vegas Field Office

What began as a special governmental protection unit responsible for the safety of US currency in 1865, the US Secret Service has expanded its role to include protection of the president, vice president, presidential candidates, and foreign leaders while visiting US soil.

Consisting of uniformed and plain clothes divisions, the Secret Service are highly trained law enforcement officers with an immense responsibility. As a group, they are dedicated, tireless, professional, and courteous to a fault. As a volunteer at the White House and as a senior meetings manager at high level events, I often encountered the Secret Service and, while their presence takes some getting used to, I always found them to be, on the whole, a good group to work with.

For that reason I wanted to highlight a few of the US Secret Service items that tend to appear on Ebay and elsewhere. Many items, particularly the Secret Service Star, are created specifically by companies for commercial resale and is against the policies of the US Secret Service (USSS). The Star, like the presidential seal, is protected under federal regulations against commercial representation or resale.

Still, officers retire and families are left with items as part of an estate and are sold. These are the items that find their way onto online auctions and retail outlets.

One of the best items to collect are the challenge coins of the US Secret Service. Each regional field office of the USSS, like all government agencies and military units, have issued challenge or identifying coins These usually metal coins are traded and collected like baseball cards. For the Las Vegas field office, their challenge coin is in fact made as a poker chip and that is the version I show here today. It was given to me directly by an agent with that field office several years ago.

Other items found by collectors with USSS designation have been previously used security pins worn on the lapels. Very few make it into the general collectible stream. They are changed constantly as a security precaution, but older versions crop up occasionally. I have provided a couple of very early examples from the Johnson and Reagan Administrations. These security pins are no longer valid and come from public auctions. More recent versions, for security reasons, should never be traded, auctioned or sold.

Also, the USSS has an affiliated service group that operates as a benefit fund for the families of USSS agents that experience the ultimate sacrifice or are injured on the job providing security for the United States. Please consider buying a specially produced item from the website at:

http://www.whitehousegiftshop.com/

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