Vice President Cufflinks Misrepresented

Seal of the Vice President of the United States
Altered Vice President seal cufflinks

Recently on Ebay I noticed an unusual change to the official seal of the vice president, 50 gold stars surrounding the central eagle on a white background. Everything was correct except for the 50 gold stars.

According to Executive Order 11884 creating the official seal of the Vice President on October 7, 1975, the seal of the vice president did not authorize stars surrounding the eagle. Only the seal of the president shows that.

Perplexed and wondering if there was an official change, I contacted the military office of the vice president which handles the official seal and I was assured that no change to the official seal of the vice president has been authorized or contemplated at this time.

Therefore, the cuff links shown on Ebay as official are not official government-issue cuff links. In fact, it is very difficult to get a pair of cuff links engraved with the signature of Vice President Dick Cheney on the reverse. His office simply does not give them out on any consistent basis. So much so, that I don’t even have a photo to put up along side the one’s above for comparison. The official seal of the Vice President will have to represent the cuff links for now to show that a circle of stars do not surround the eagle.

Simply stated, the official white ‘cobalt’ cuff links of Vice President Dick Cheney do not show the circle of stars around the eagle. Any internet buyer or collector should be wary of any attempt to insist that these are official. It is also very difficult to find official presidential or vice presidential cufflinks or other jewelry at a price of only $45 or so. Their retail or collector value is usually around $200 a set and more.

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  1. Patrick says:

    Tom,

    I was given a pair of these cufflinks as a gift. They have the ring of stars around the eagle, but they also have Cheney’s signature on the reverse side. I was told that they were a gift from the vice president himself, but according to your post here, that may not be the case.

    Thoughts?

    Patrick

  2. Tom Carrier says:

    Sorry, Patrick, someone is trying to gain some bragging points. The seal of the vice president does NOT have 50 stars surrounding the eagle, only the seal of the president does. The original VP seal from 1948 to 1975 did have a series of 13 stars in a circle around a very different looking eagle. Since 1975, the stars were eliminated.

    More than likely your cufflinks were bought online from a couple of vendors who, with careful language, do not actually say they are official, but give the impression that they are. So, unless the language is studied very carefully, anyone can and have been misled.

    Still, while they don’t have the official cache and are worth a fraction of the official ones, it was a thoughtful gift.

    Tom Carrier
    Worthologist

    • Daniel Hoover says:

      Tom, I am sorry to inform you that you are sadly misinformed on the Vice Presidential Seal. I worked in the White House from 1974 thru 1976, and received the Vice Presidential Service Certificate and Badge for my service there. The Certificate and the Badge both have the 50 Stars surrounding the Eagle. Also the Eagle was with wings extended in the lowered position. If you have an email address where you would like me to send a copy I will be glad to. Also the VP Service Badges were numbered. I have number 34.
      Thank You,
      Daniel Hoover

      • Tom Carrier says:

        Daniel:

        I would be delighted to see an image of the VP seal in any form with 50 stars surrounding it. Executive Order 10016 definitely shows the original 1948 VP seal as authorizing only 13 stars surrounding the ‘droopy’ eagle, never 50. In the 1975 redesign of the VP seal, the stars surrounding the eagle, an uplifted design, were eliminated altogether.

        It is always possible that designers at the time misunderstood the design of the seal, but that doesn’t make it official.

        Thanks for your continued interest.

        Tom Carrier
        Worthologist

  3. Dennis says:

    I have a very large (approx 20″ X 40″) framed “official” cloth embroidered Vice-Presidential Seal from George H. W. Bush as President Reagan’s Vice-President. It has both the full color seal and the white background seal. I also have the matching seal of President George W. Bush celebrating his 100th day in office. The Vice-Presidential Seal, although I know the usual full color seal has no stars — as mine does not, the white seal does indeed have 50 gold stars. I received these from a friend that worked in the military office of G. W. Bush. I know they were officially issued by the White House. On the other hand I have a authentic service badge from both the Vice-President’s and the President’s office and the Vice-President badge does not have the stars. Although I do believe the cufflinks you show are not official… there are times the solid white seal does have the 50 stars. I will forward a photo of the seals if you would like

    • Tom Carrier says:

      Dennis:

      There have been many times when I’ve had to evaluate items that were provided by White House staff to individuals as souvenirs of their visit only to have to tell them that the seal isn’t official. In one instance, a contractor was paid for his work at the White House with cases of ‘presidential’ glassware only to be told that the glassware was typical of the tourist souvenirs available in any gift shop in Washington, DC.

      It seems that many times, White House staff will buy or are given traditional gift shop items with seals that appear to be correct, but in reality are not. The Executive Orders governing the use of the seal of the president and vice president explicitly states that the seals are for official use only with some exceptions for educational and historical use. Commercial use is forbidden. To skirt this requirement, commercial firms will create items with slight variations of the official seal for resale as souvenir items. It is these items that White House or military staff seem to regard as acceptable to give as official souvenirs.

      Over the years, I and many other vexillologists who are familiar with all aspects of official government seals have labored to be consulted on new official items to be sure the Executive Orders are followed as intended. We’ve never been successful. And so, you have incorrect versions of official seals appearing in items such as official White House china (the Reagan red china), presidential glassware, office items, and especially jewelry.

      All this is to say that your cuff links featuring the full color eagle on a white background surrounded by 50 stars intended to be the seal of the vice president is incorrect. The White House Military Office is unaware that the seal of the vice president has changed to accommodate this new design. Someone on the staff must have seen these cuff links somewhere (probably online), bought some and gave them out as official gifts without checking their authenticity first. As I have already mentioned, that happens a lot.

      Still, any photos would be useful. We’re always willing to learn new things, as long as it is reciprocal.

      Thanks for writing in.

      Tom Carrier
      Worthologist

  4. Roy says:

    I recently was apart of the current vice presidents motorcade and as a thank you I was give a “vice presidential coin” and vice presidential cuff-links…not that I would be interested in selling these items necessarily but I wonder what kind of value they would garner.

    • Tom Carrier says:

      Roy,

      If you were given a ‘challenge’ coin by the vice president’s staff, that suggests a great commitment on your part to his safety. Well done.

      A pair of vice presidential cufflinks also suggests a very strong commitment to providing a great service and sacrifice to the United States in protecting our most vulnerable officials.

      Still, it is important to know that these small tokens of appreciation do have a value beyond just the sentimental, because eventually your family will need to know.

      In the world of presidential and political collectibles, the vice president hasn’t done as well as the president. Even Al Gore, vice president, Oscar winner, Emmy winner and Nobel laureate doesn’t quite get the same respect in terms of his official jewelry.

      That is a long way to say that the challenge coin has a value of between $50 and $95, while the cufflinks (if they are die cast or enameled) have a retail value of between $95 and $150.

      These same items from the president, just to compare, have a retail market value of between 4 and 5 times those of the vice president.

      That’s just the way it is.

      Tom Carrier
      Worthologist

  5. Dennis Shifflett says:

    Roy,

    Just wondering if you could send me a photo of the cufflinks you received. I have not as yet seen a set of cufflinks from the Obama-Biden administraton that I believe are authentic. I would love to see the real thing.

    Best regards,
    Dennis

    • Tom Carrier says:

      Dennis:

      You are not alone. Even now, a year into his Administration and there has been precious little in the way of official jewelry or anything else reaching the secondary market from this White House. That includes Christmas cards, programs, jewelry or anything else.

      Why the drought? Either the Administration isn’t producing the usual items to be given out or the receiver’s are holding onto to them in unprecedented numbers. We’re just not sure.

      That’s a long way of saying that I do not have a pair of either Obama or Biden cufflinks to show. I did have access to a pair of Biden cufflinks, but I don’t now. I have NEVER seen a pair of official Obama cufflinks yet and I’m plugged in pretty good.

      I’ll be glad to put a pair of either cufflinks here when I can, then I’ll let you know.

      Tom Carrier
      Worthologist

  6. Dennis says:

    Tom,

    I just got around to reading your response to my previous post. If you will carefully re-read my previous post — I did not say my vice-presidential full color cufflinks had fifty stars as you reference in your follow-up. I never even said I own vice-president cufflinks at all. However I do have such items, from most vice-presidents that had such items, both before and after the seal was changed by Vice President Rockefeller. I said they did “not” have the fifty stars as the presidential cufflinks have. The only item that I own with the vice presidential seal showing the fifty stars is the large cloth framed embroideded piece that I reference above. I feel the stars were added to this piece because the piece would look empty with the eagle on the large white background alone — and it matches the presidential piece that way. Again, I have absolutely no vice presidential piece in “full color” that has the fifty stars. Inasmuch I am agreeing with you, not contradicting you, as it seems you believed. I have been collecting political items including presidential and vice-presidential memorabilia for some time and I feel I have grown pretty good at spotting the fake/knock off items. I will have to get you a photo of the large framed seal that I was referring to — again I was not referring to full color cufflinks which I am aware carry no stars.

    Best regards,
    Dennis

    from my previous post:

    The Vice-Presidential Seal, although I know the usual full color seal has no stars — as mine does NOT

    I have a authentic service badge from both the Vice-President’s and the President’s office and the Vice-President badge does NOT have the stars.

  7. Roy says:

    Tom,
    thanks for info? How do I get the email address of dennis so I can send him pictures of the cufflinks?

  8. Dennis says:

    Roy,

    Here is an e-mail address that is not my main address (so tons of others don’t get my personal address). You may use it.

    I thank you very much for your willingness to share the photo!

    Best regards,
    Dennis
    dvfd@denshiff.com

  9. Dennis says:

    Tom,

    I thank you for all of your insight. The only Obama-Biden cufflinks that I have found are on eBay and we both know the likeliness of those being authentic. I checked one source I have and their only answer was that President Obama was a little slow in getting these items out.

    I also checked with the secret service… as you know they run the White House gift shop. For the last few years of the W. Bush administration they were allowed to sell a limited number of items with the presidential seal… mostly glassware. (not that these items were actually used in the White House) They told me they did believe they would be having items with “The Seal Of The President Of The United States” wording at some point — they had just not as yet asked permission to do so. As you may know before recieving permission from W. Bush all of the glassware they offered had the wording “The President Of The Unites States Of America” with what looked like the official seal — without the official wording. At this point in Obama’s presidency they only offer items with the “Great Seal”.

    From time to time I do sell on eBay — but only authentic presidential/political items.

    Thanks again,
    Dennis

  10. Candice Borque says:

    Hello, I was wondering if you could help me with a few things. My grandfather flew for Vice President Agnew when he was assigned to Washington after his cover was blown over seas. He has passed down to me a pair of Vice Presidential cufflinks – the seal is on a white background and it only has the 13 stars surrounding the eagle. Obviously it has sentimetal value but is there any additional value I need to be aware of for insure coverage etc? My second item passed down from my grandfather is a solid bronze vice presidential seal with Spiro T. Agnews signature across the back. Once again, is there any additional value I need to be aware of?