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Shedding Some Light on Political Collecting

This lamp was made more than 100 years ago for supporters of Theodore Roosevelt.

This lamp was made more than 100 years ago for supporters of Theodore Roosevelt.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s a lot more to political collecting than just buttons.

The variety of collectibles in this hobby is part of the fun. Those who focus just on the buttons are missing a whole other world that’s out there. I am constantly reminded of this when I have some extra time and go surfing through the items/prices realized for many of the online auctions.

On one of these recent searches online, I came across a photo of a great Theodore Roosevelt “Gone with the Wind” style of lamp that was sold a while back. The fact that a lamp like this managed to survive for more than 100 years is quite amazing. I have a similar one in my collection, and I often wonder how it made it through various moves through the years, toddlers rocking tables, balls tossed across a living room and many other potential disasters. Mine was shipped to me years ago from New England and I was nervous the entire time until I unpacked it.

It got me to wondering what other political lamps might be out there.

It wasn’t long before I ran across an even older lamp, a Benjamin Harrison one from 1892. While not as graphic at the Roosevelt one, and without a photo of the candidate, it’s still just as fragile and a wonder of survival.

My search also revealed an 1896 oil lamp for William McKinley and his running mate Garret Hobart.  This is another very breakable glass lamp of more than 110 years old. While this one had some wear and tear, it was hardly in bad shape.

As a friend of mine regularly says, “What a hobby!”


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