To a non-collector, a political button for a losing candidate might seem like a losing proposition itself. But serious political collectors know that even the losers can be winners in collections.
However, what about a political candidate that many people born after World War II never heard of? Yeah, those too.
Wendell Willkie was the Republican candidate for president in 1940, running against Franklin Roosevelt who was seeking an unprecedented third term. Willkie would lose the race, but because his campaign produced so many great collectibles – buttons in particular – he has remained quite popular among collectors.
This popularly quite possibly was never more evident than in a recent auction when a 2 ¾ inch oval pinback button with ribbon from Western Pennsylvania for Willkie went up on the national stage.
This rare pin was described as one of only three known in the hobby, and the most well-known Willkie collector reportedly already owned it.
Despite all that, the pin, which had a $1,500 minimum on a $2,500 estimate, sold for a startling $4,887.50.
That’s quite a “loser.”