Obama Campaign Collectibles, Modern Double Eagles, Art Collection Where?

The arts, collectibles news takes a look at political collectors in Vegas, buying Double Eagle coins, a little overkill protecting an art collection and some British robbers sentenced for making off with millions in collectibles and art.

What Happens in Vegas . . .

Democrats will gather in Denver, and Republicans will convene in St. Paul to select their presidential nominees. But 300 fans of political-campaign collectibles have already completed their pilgrimage to the Strip. The annual meeting of the association known as the American Political Items Collectors wrapped up August 7 at the Riviera Hotel & Casino. Clearly, these collectors know how to have more fun than convention delegates . . . or at least they know how to combine their interests with free buffet coupons.

Not surprisingly, items related to Barack Obama’s campaign were in demand at the auction tables. The New York Times reports that a button issued at the Illinois senator’s campaign kickoff in February 2007 sold for $150 on the first day of the gathering. Check the American Political Items Collectors Web site for regional fall auctions beginning in September.

Double Eagle or 529 College Fund?

Hot coin debates typically are the exclusive domain of numismatists. But questions surrounding the modern version of the 1907 Double Eagle gold coin to be offered next year by the U.S. Mint already are piquing the mainstream media. Kimberly Palmer, a consumer affairs editor at U.S. News & World Report, recommends against buying the coin as an investment.

There’s No Place Like Home

German advertising mogul and art collector Christian Boros has renovated a World War II bomb shelter in Berlin to protect both his family and his contemporary paintings. Bloomberg News reports the structure has concrete walls more than 6.5 feet thick and metal doors. Nazi architect Albert Speer supervised the construction in 1942. It was large enough to hold 2,000 people during Allied air attacks. Boros combined 120 chambers into a more manageable 70 rooms, while adding some above-ground features in a glass box. Sounds cozy.

All in the Family

Several members of a notorious British crime family have been sentenced to decade-long prison terms for stealing an estimated $145 million in art, antiques and collectibles from manor homes southwest of London. The Daily Mirror reports police uncovered a $25 million cache of china buried in a pasture. Most of the remaining loot was never recovered, and investigators say it probably was sold in Russia, India and China.

In the biggest robbery of the 2005-2006 spree, members of the Johnson gang rammed SUVs through two sets of security fences and a window to grab antiques, jewelry and china at the Wiltshire estate of property tycoon Harry Hymans. Court records on the cases were unsealed on August 7.