Let’s see now, what could $33,460 buy you? Two brand new, nicely outfitted Kia Rio compact cars. Or perhaps a pair of two-carat diamond earrings of the finest quality. Maybe even two years at a good public university for room, board and tuition with a little left over for the occasional Friday night pizza.
Or, if you are a collector, most specifically a political collector, $33,460 could have bought you Lot 38171 in Saturday’s 2012 Americana Signature Auction at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. That includes the 19.5 percent buyer’s premium, of course.
Lot 38171 was something I had written about a couple weeks ago: a rare matched pair of Cox-Roosevelt and Harding-Coolidge jugate buttons from the 1920 presidential campaign. Cox being the Democrat and Harding the Republican. The prize here was the hard-to-find Cox-Roosevelt pin, but having the matching Harding-Coolidge pin in the same size by the same manufacturer made this a special lot. Did I mention these pins are about the size of a dime, at most?
Seven bidders chased these two pins to the end, going to the gavel well above the $24,000-$28,000 estimate. It wasn’t a record price for a Cox-Roosevelt pin alone even, but it was an eye-opening price in this economy. This scarce pair of celluloid pinback buttons even outshined a circa 1857 desk and chair set from the U.S. House of Representatives, in use through the Civil War years until 1873. That sold for only $23,302.
Some political collector will now have not only the Holy Grail of political collecting, but also its mate. There’s one happy, though poorer, collector out there.