Political Memorabilia Value Guide

Political Memorabilia is one of the most interesting types of Historical collectibles because they directly relate to the development of the United States as a democracy. There are many subtypes of items that fit the bill as Political Memorabilia and they can be anything from a bumper sticker for Ronald Reagan to a hand-written note from George Washington himself.

Types of Political Memorabilia

While some collectors of Political Memorabilia will focus on a particular President or period of time (i.e. Civil War) many will focus their efforts on collecting within a particular type of item, and possibly rounding out a collection with a few choice items from other types. Listed below is just a sampling of some of the more popular types of items you’ll see within Political Memorabilia.


Political Buttons are among the most popular and well known political collectibles. The earliest buttons consisted of metal frames with small pictures of the candidates in them and eventually turned into the celluloid style pin-back we all know today. There are thousands of known designs and the rarest buttons have sold for over $50,000, while common buttons can be had for less than $10. It’s a broad hobby with all types of collectors.

Convention Items

The most common items from Political Conventions are tickets and programs, while some of the most valuable include delegate ribbons and appointment certificates. Many collectors will again try to focus down on creating a full set of Democratic or Republican items, while others will try to build a set for every convention for both parties. Some collectors just look to augment their focus around a particular President or time period.


Textiles can be some of the most valuable types of Political Memorabilia because cloth items typically date fairly early and are more substantial in size and rarity than many other types of items. The most valuable textile items include US Flags printed with candidates’ names or slogans, bandanas with candidates images, or campaign banners printed on cloth. Common items include silk ribbons with candidates’ images or slogans and can be rare, but in most cases are much less valuable than other types of textiles. Flags are especially popular with collectors and are often the centerpiece of many advanced collections. Rare or important textile items frequently sell for prices over $10,000 but more common examples tend to hover around a few hundred.


Campaign items are a broad category that actually includes many of these other types, but there remains a plethora of odd, unusual, or just interesting campaign items that have been produced over the years that don’t fit any other category. These items frequently focus on a specific issue such as the Teapot Dome scandal, or the gold and silver bugs that were commonly produced to show one’s support for Gold or Silver and their respective candidates. Items in this category are so broad and varied that it’s impossible to give any real guidelines without seeing exactly what you have so feel free to get in touch with us for assistance and a free auction estimate.


Presidential China is very rare and is typically a prized part of any collection. These serving pieces were bought by a President during his time in the White House. Very few private collections exist with more than a few pieces of Presidential China but when pieces do come up for public sale they typically bring very strong prices with most pieces selling for thousands of dollars.

Letters & Correspondence

Letters and Correspondence from Presidents, Political Figures, and other Famous Historical people can range from almost worthless for a reciept in poor condition to six figure sums for important historical documents in good condition with important content. Since there were no computers or typewriters for early American life, almost all correspondence and documents were hand written so they really aren’t that rare in many cases. This puts a premium on condition and content. Another important factor with signed documents is having the knowledge and resources to be sure the handwriting and signatures are authentic. Feel free to contact us for help determining the value of your Political and Historical documents.

Factors Affecting the Value of Political Memorabilia

Every type of item will have its own unique quirks and important points as to what will be valuable within that category, however within the overall category of Political Memorabilia here are some factors that can provide some guidelines for placing value on Historical and Political Items.

  • Age: The actual age of an item is only one part of the formula that helps to determine the value of an item. However, with historical memorabilia the general rule of the older the more valuable holds true. There are exceptions, political items from the 1860s are going to be more valuable than most items from the 1840s, but something from the 1840s will be more valuable of course than something from the 1940s, all else being equal.
  • Significance: With Political Memorabilia the significance of an item is the number one factor in its value. Items related to popular presidents, politicians, or other notable famous (or infamous) historical events will naturally be more valuable than a thank you note or generic correspondence.
  • Provenance: Important items are much more valuable with an established history and provenance to authenticate them. Items that have been in important or well known collections, that have been published in books, were obtained directly from family members or other reliable sources that provide rock solid provenance will have much more value with collectors than an item that just “appears” with no documentation. Items without provenance may still have value in some cases or can sometimes be researched and authenticated, but it’s always good to have the facts to start.
  • Rarity: Rarity and Demand really go hand in hand because for something to really sell for a high price you need both factors in your favor. Many dealers, sellers and even other auctioneers throw around the term rare like it’s pepper designed to spice up the flavor of their items. At Manifest we know what rare really means and you will only see us refer to some of the most incredible collectibles out there are rare.
  • Demand:Demand is an incredibly important factor in any collectible item because even if an item is rare, if there isn’t an established group of collectors competing to buy it, and the market for it isn’t readily obvious then it still won’t have much value. This is an important concept to understand and one of the most important reasons to contact us and find out what the market is for your item, because we deal with the marketplace everyday and we know the ups and downs of what folks are looking for.
  • Condition: Condition is hugely important in determining the value of an item, but the most important aspect of condition is in comparison to other examples of the same or similar items. If there are known examples of a particular item but all of them are in poor to fair condition, then one that is discovered in fine condition will sell at a considerable premium, whereas in the reverse situation when there are several known examples in excellent condition and one comes up for sale in only fair condition, we’d expect a steep discount. Condition multiplies the value of an item on a nearly exponential basis so for a marginal upgrade in condition you often pay a premium of double or more from a step down.condition

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