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Silent Cal: Not a Wasted Word

This 7/8 inch Calvin Coolidge pin was issued in Pennsylvania in 1924, as the keystone design shows.

Three U.S. presidents died on the Fourth of July. Strangely enough, all three were Founding Fathers – John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. But only one president was born on the Fourth of July – Calvin Coolidge. Of course, old Calvin would be the last person to brag about sharing a birthday with his country. He wasn’t called Silent Cal for nothing.

Vice President Coolidge became our 30th president quite unexpectedly when President Warren G. Harding died in August 1923. Much like Gerald Ford tried to do when Richard Nixon was forced to resign in the wake of Watergate, President Coolidge tried, and succeeded, in restoring the nation’s honor following the Teapot Dome oil scandal. Coolidge’s claim to fame is someone who righted the ship of state, a caretaker president in many books.

To say that Coolidge was quiet is an understatement. He was notorious for his brevity. One story, even touted by his wife, took place at a dinner where a young lady sat down next to the president. She told him she was sure she could get him to say at least three words in conversation. Without even turning his head, Silent Cal said, “You lose.” Coolidge finished the term of President Harding, then was elected to his own term in 1924. As the next election approached, he famously issued 10 words: “I do not choose to run for president in 1928.”

Although many of the political collectibles of Calvin Coolidge are quite modest in design and color, matching his personality, he is still popular with a large group of collectors. His collectibles can run from a few dollars up to hundreds and even thousands for some of the more rare items. Silence can be golden.

This small, oval Coolidge pin sells in the $35 price range. This scarce pin from Coolidge's hometown of Plymouth, Vt., sells in the $275 range.


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Jim Cooke Since July 4, 1985 I've performed a solo history - Calvin Coolidge: "More Than Two Words". Thanks for your post. Now and again, people have given me Coolidge political buttons and memorabilia. I was most recently in Reno, Nevada for a symposium on the 1920s at the National Automobile Museum. Coolidge is our last president who never learned to drive a car. "Silent Cal" was born in 1872 - in his autobiography he writes that the first birthday he remembered was his fourth. That means the 30th president remembered our Centennial year of 1876. Cool! April 25th, 2012 at 2:58 PM

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