Political memorabilia collectors display pieces of American history

Lilianna Oustinovskaya

The Southern California chapter of the American Political Items Collectors organized their semi-annual collectibles show and sale on Oct. 12 in Granada Hills.

There were approximately 20 tables set up for the show, with APIC members, traders and customers viewing a vast assortment of collections. Although campaign buttons dominated in quantity, the show also included badges, posters, license plates, ashtrays, magazines and political memorabilia.

‘These events are always fun because people are able to walk around and see the types of items that we have here,’ said Thomas Morton, an APIC member who helped organize the event. ‘The people here have a real passion for collecting and trading political memorabilia.’

‘I have been collecting political memorabilia since I was a teenager, so it really is a life-long hobby of mine,’ Morton added.

The prices for the items were determined by the rarity and uniqueness of the item, as well as simple supply and demand, said Morton. Recent political items, such as buttons, were usually priced between $2 and $5. The cost of campaign buttons from the Nixon and Reagan presidencies ranged between $40 and $100.

‘Some of the most popular or in demand presidential memorabilia is from the Lincoln, Nixon and Roosevelt campaigns,’ Morton said.

The APIC, a non-profit organization with more than 2,000 members nationwide, has been promoting the collection and appreciation of political memorabilia since it was founded in 1945. Its members actively participate in trading, selling and buying political campaign items.

‘People often want to know what they should be buying, in terms of the items increasing in value in the future, and the truth is that no one really knows at this point in the campaign,’ said Carl Jung, a member of the Northern California chapter of APIC. ‘I always tell people to buy what’s on their top ten lists.’

For APIC member David Hyman, who has been active in politics since the sixties, attending the Democratic and Republican National Conventions gave him the opportunity to add items to his already extensive collection of political memorabilia.

‘It was just a very interesting experience to be on the floor at the convention and see all the items that were being passed out,’ said Hyman, who had several tables set up at the event.