Atlanta, October 31, 2008 – Based on current political-campaign buttons sales, Sen. Barack Obama is the likely winner of next week’s presidential contest, according to WorthPoint political memorabilia expert Jim Warlick.
The results are based on his historically accurate, but unscientific, USA Button Poll. Since 1988, his poll has correctly predicted the winner for every presidential election except for 2000. The poll was based on thousands of button sales at political events, nonpolitical shows, sales at Washington, D.C., locations and political conventions since late June.
Warlick is a member of WorthPoint’s expert Worthologist team. WorthPoint is an Internet-based data-and-media company that offers a vast database of sales records on art, antiques and collectibles. WorthPoint helps collectors understand the worth of their items and provides expert advice on how to preserve, buy and sell them.
“Campaigns may have gone high-tech, but old-fashioned political-campaign buttons are as popular as ever, not only increasing in value, but helping to predict presidential elections,” said Warlick. “In over 40 years of collecting and selling campaign buttons, I have never seen such interest. The possibility of electing the first woman president or the first African American drove many to people to purchase those candidates’ buttons that otherwise may not have been the case.”
Warlick notes that while Obama merchandise is highly popular, John F. Kennedy memorabilia is still the most prized. Other popular presidents include Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower.
What makes a button valuable? According to Warlick, the popularity of a president, the quantity of buttons produced and the design content are key factors. Buttons with photographs are always more sought after by collectors. Buttons that include both the presidential and vice-presidential candidates are called jugates and are highly prized, especially if they include photographs of the candidates.
As for the most valuable button, that distinction goes to Ohio Gov. James Cox and former Assistant Navy Secretary Franklin Roosevelt. They ran against Warren Harding in the 1920 presidential campaign—before Roosevelt was stricken with polio. Although there were six different Cox and Roosevelt designs, it is now believed that all were just manufacturers’ samples and were never ordered in large quantities. Of all six designs, only 50 buttons are known to exist. In a private sale a few years ago, a 1-1/4-inch Cox and Roosevelt jugate went for a reported $135,000.
For would-be button collectors, Warlick offers the following advice: “Casual collectors should choose a candidate they like or admire and enjoy studying. Investors should choose based on past sales history, quality of button and historical significance of that particular election or candidate.”
“In addition to getting campaign-button information from sites like WorthPoint,” Warlick recommends contacting the American Political Items Collectors (APIC), an organization devoted to the collecting of political memorabilia.
Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Atlanta, WorthPoint is an Internet-based data-and-media company that offers a vast database of sales records on art, antiques and collectibles from more than 400 auction houses. Members can share their insights, knowledge and passion and build collecting communities. WorthPoint helps collectors understand the history and value of their items and provides expert advice on how to preserve or sell them. While it does not facilitate the bidding of any items, WorthPoint provides information about upcoming auctions at its partner auction houses.
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