Some of the larger political collectibles shows across the country have dealer auctions that allow those setting up at the show to contribute items to an evening auction.
The American Political Items Collectors biennial convention in Columbus, Ohio, last week featured one such auction. At many of these types of auctions, dealers try to dump off problem items – items that might be scarce but have flaws. Other times, items in such auctions aren’t really that scarce.
The Columbus auction contained many amazing items, and most in excellent condition. Let’s take a look at some of those items (prices listed do not include a 10 percent buyer’s premium):
The highlight of the auction was an anti-Theodore Roosevelt pin put out after Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to the White House. Washington was the first black man ever invited to dinner by a president, and it was quite a controversial event. This politically incorrect pin in the auction showed a chimpanzee holding a knife and fork, with the words “Have Supper With Me” at the bottom. Despite some spots on the pin, two bidders chased this pin to a closing price of $2,900, the highest price of any of the auction items.
John W. Davis was the Democratic nominee for president in 1924, but before that, he ran for Congress. Two congressional race pins for Davis were offered in the auction – one with a white background, one with a black background. The white version sold for $550, while the black one sold for $225.
A large Coolidge-Dawes jugate button and ribbon for the Republican nominees for president and vice president in 1924 drew a lot of attention in the auction. It sold for a bargain $1,000. One without the ribbon sold the next day on the show floor for $1,275.
And finally, a celluloid and leather watch fob for William Jennings Bryan’s third race for the White House, in 1908, sold for $650, which seemed like a very reasonable price for one of the classics of the greatest era in political button manufacturing.
In total, nearly 100 items sold at the 2 ½ hour auction last Thursday evening with several going for more than $1,000.