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10 Things You Didn't Know: U.S. Presidents & Presidential Collectibles

Did you know that President Jimmy Carter is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, or that the 10th President John Tyler fathered 15 children? Or how about that two flags that stood in the Oval Office during JFK's term sold for $350,000 at auction? These and many more tidbits of Presidential history await you in the latest 10 Things You Didn't Know column.

Did you know Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were good friends, and they died on the same day? Or, how about that John Tyler fathered 15 children? Test your presidential knowledge with 10 Things You Didn't Know: U.S. Presidents & Presidential Collectibles.


1 Five days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the flags from the White House Oval Office were given to the president’s personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln. The pair of flags sold for $350,000 during Heritage Auctions’ Political & Americana auction in November 2013.

2 Good friends and equally good rivals, Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on the same day: July 4, 1826.

3 John Tyler, the 10th president of the United States, married twice and fathered 15 children — more than any other president in history. Tyler never ran for president; he was on the ballot as vice president in 1840 and took office after William Henry Harrison’s death

JFK flags

The pair of flags that stood in the Oval Office during JFK’s presidency realized $350,000 at a November 2013 auction: three times the presale estimate. (Photo courtesy Heritage Auctions)

on April 4, 1841, following the shortest presidential term in history (30 days, 12 hours and 30 minutes).

4 In July 2010, the black silk shawl, parasol and folding fan of President Abraham Lincoln’s widow, Mary Todd Lincoln, sold for $16,500 (three times more than the estimate) during a sale at Cowan’s Auctions.

5 The 18th U.S. President, Ulysses S. Grant, was a cigar aficionado, and reportedly smoked at least 20 a day. He died of throat cancer at the age of 63.

6 Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th U.S. President, ordered a putting green be installed at the White House. It’s said he played more than 800 rounds while in office. His fraying golf bag sold for $3,750 in May 2004 through Heritage Auctions.

7 Eight of the 43 individuals* who have served as president died in office. Of those, four were assassinated: James Garfield, William McKinley, Lincoln and Kennedy.

8 More than 2,000 people are members of the American Political Items Collectors group (

9 An uncommon red, white and blue “Cox Roosevelt Club” jugate pinback from the 1920 presidential election, featuring Democratic running mates James Cox and Franklin D. Roosevelt, fetched $26,000 via Heritage Auctions in November 2011. The men lost the election — which also was the first in which women were able to vote in all U.S. states (48 at that time) — to Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge.

10 Jimmy Carter, the 39th U.S. President and a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, is on record as witnessing an unidentified flying object in Georgia in the autumn of 1969.

Compiled by Antoinette Rahn.

Sources:,,,, Golf Week,, New York Times Learning Network, and White House Confidential: The Little Book of Weird Presidential History.

* President Barack Obama is the 44th U.S. president, but there have been actually only 43 different individuals who have served the office. Grover Cleveland is counted twice, because his two terms were non-consecutive.