Politically collect

Austin_Robyn4C.jpgMy father, who is a child of the Great Depression, can recall with a high amount of respect, how critical President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal was in terms of turning around the economy and providing jobs for the unemployed.

My mother, who remembers President John F. Kennedy with fondness and sadness, can remember her reaction the moment news of his shooting came over the radio. “He can’t die! He’s the president!” and her shock when she saw live, on television, Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald.

I, born in the tumultuous year of 1968, can recall 20 years later, working for the campus newspaper, having the privilege of shaking the hands of just about every presidential candidate from Paul Simon and Michael Dukakis to Al Gore.

Politics create moments in history – and history itself. That’s one of the reasons why so many people collect political memorabilia today. Each pin and banner not only represents a time and person, but perhaps a cause or movement as well.

I know I can’t look at a women’s “right to vote” badge without being very thankful there were women (and men) who cared enough to lobby, protest and fight for that right.

I bet you can’t look at a candidate pin for Thomas Dewey without thinking of that famous “Dewey defeats Truman” headline.

Can you look at a caricature of Carter without thinking of peanuts? Or study a family photo of Lincoln without experiencing empathy for the many tragedies in his personal life and challenges in his administration?

While some of the more frivolous items do find themselves abandoned on the convention floor, others are finding themselves in the hands of political collectors like author Dr. Enoch Nappen and James Warlick.

Be sure to read our cover story by Dr. Nappen, who shares insight into collecting trends and gives a sneak preview to his recently released book, Warman’s Political Collectibles Identification and Price Guide, published by Krause Books.

To see the real deal, make a point of visiting the Atlantique City fall show Oct. 18-19, where Mr. Warlick will display numerous items from this personal collection dubbed “The American Presidential Experience.” Warlick has had a love of politics from an early age and has opened six political memorabilia stores in Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, Washington and Georgetown.

Check out our Atlantique City show section on the following pages to see what else is in store at the Atlantic City Convention Center. You won’t want to miss your chance to spout politics and feel like a winner yourself when you find a collectible treasure there.

As the election approaches, Antique Trader would like to know if you collect political memorabilia or if you have a memory to share about a historic election or political moment. We’ll share these before the nation chooses its new president next month.

Drop me a note, post a reply here, or e-mail me at robyn.austin@fwpubs.com. Hurry, before the polls close!