News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Hospice of the Western Reserve

Lehmans

Greater Akron Chamber


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Arts and Entertainment




Political items collectors gather at Columbus convention
The biannual convention is being held for the first time in Ohio
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Courtesy of Karen Kasler
Download (WKSU Only)

There are some people who might say that political campaigns create a lot of garbage. But to political junkies and historians, that’s an outright lie. Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler reports on a convention in Columbus that brings together a certain group of collectors who fall into both of those categories.

The convention runs through today (Saturday) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in north Columbus.

Kasler on political items convention

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:11)


Kasler on political items convention medium version

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (2:09)


Kasler on political items convention short version

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (1:05)


(Click image for larger view.)

Over American political history, candidates have connected with voters not just with handshakes and baby kissing. Campaigns throughout the years have produced all sorts of items by which candidates have promoted themselves – everything from the common political campaign pin to placards, postcards, plates, pitchers, and even puppets. The 3,000 members of the American Political Items Collectors have all of these things and much, much more. They gather for a convention every two years, and in APIC’s 60 years in existence, this is the first time such a gathering has been held in Ohio.  And with attendees from 40 states here, it’s the biggest gathering the group has had in decades.  Where else would a President Theodore Roosevelt impersonator be not just welcomed, but treated like a special guest? 

“Isn’t that just a delightful treasure? Now what we’re looking at are items that are well over a hundred years old.”

Joe Wiegand of Tennessee is head to toe Teddy – he calls himself a Teddy Roosevelt reprisor, and says the 26th president is widely considered to be the most collected. 

“The men and women who collect political items, they love history and they love politics.” 

Other popular presidents among collectors are Lincoln, FDR and JFK.  And the hobby is hardly limited to buttons – celluloid button making didn’t come about until 1896, and while they are probably the single most collected item, there are plenty of other artifacts and things that collectors love to see and buy. Tom Peeling is a collector and dealer from West Palm Beach, Florida. 

“There’s metal trays, there’s china, there’s busts, there’s hand puppets, there’s – I saw Ronald Reagan slippers, bedroom slippers. There’s just a myriad of things that people collect and can collect. In this hobby, I have 1,200 Theodore Roosevelt items and I’ve already picked up four more at this show that I don’t have, and there’s a lot more that my budget won’t allow me to pick up.”

Some of the items are small and current – such as tiny pins just an inch or so across each bearing the faces of Obama and Romney. Some are very old – for instance, banners from the 19th 
century – and could be considered priceless to the right person. Jack Dixey is from central Ohio and is the co-chair of the American Political Items Collectors. 

“There was a button that traded hands for over $10,000. That’s pretty substantial for a button. But there’s so much material that can be had for a dollar. That covers a lot of bases.”

And fans of political memorabilia don’t limit themselves to winners. Failed presidential candidates George McGovern and Barry Goldwater are popular with collectors, in some part because items can be hard to find – it was easy for people to throw out things associated with a losing candidate. And some specialize in certain areas – the women’s suffrage movement, or the mid 19th century. But they all are historians, and can tell great stories of what an item means and how it came about. Roger Lowenstein is from Los Angeles. 

“We look at the pieces of Americana as not just something to throw in a drawer but to actually symbolize a political action that someone has taken. You put a button on your body and you’re saying, ‘this is what I stand for – this is what I believe in’.” 

Ronnie Lapinsky Sax is from Maryland, and says these folks are more than just hobbyists. 

“We are custodians of history. We’re only custodians for a short period of time, but history is long, and that’s what’s really important.” 

Sax collects items specifically related to women in politics, and notes that the most expensive item for sale is a medal given to honor one of the women who picketed in front of the White House in 1917 and later went on a hunger strike – it’s being offered for $12,500. The next convention will be in 2014 in Denver.

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook





Stories with Recent Comments

Legalized marijuana is a boon for a Cleveland-area grow light maker
Great article and on a similar note, Nano Technology grow lights just hit the market and grows the plants 3/4 inch faster per day than the double ended 1000w. ...

Ohio to appeal ruling keeping Akron's red light cameras in place
I don't understand what all the fuss is about. If you don't like tickets drive the speed limit and stop at red lights. It's really all up to you.

Letters from a lost friend: A Beachwood survivor's Holocaust remembrance
What a great story -- and how important it was for both Marlene and her mother to tell it! Thank you.

Akron city council to vote on resolution for hiring ex-offenders
Great as a taxpayer I paid for the police to catch them, the free lawyer, the jail to house them , the food their kids eat the medical for them and all its goin...

5 of 8 rule headed for a vote
this is just another way for kasich to pass the buck and claim that it gives the local districts control. Few schools have enough money because of his cuts. T...

Bill would allow Ohio religious leaders to refuse to do gay marriages
This is just a lot of political posturing. The free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment already protects clergy from being forced by civil authorities to perfo...

Ohio lawmakers want to eliminate background checks, training to carry guns
On the face of this report I don't find the name of the bill or who sponsered it. I will have to google a general bill with this as its content to address it. N...

Ohio lawmaker calls for an investigation into a Dayton women's prison
I was an inmate at DCI and I am so happy that it's being investigated. The staff behavior there is awful unless he/she is your lover. There are more drugs insid...

Ohio's disabled face long waiting list for services
Can we use the Tribble on Disability Care? if so can you send the link to http://voice4thevoiceless.us thank you, Mark J Cleland Sr voice4thevoiceless.us

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University