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Collecting Campaign Buttons for Fun and Investment

The history of campaign button collecting from George Washington to Donald Trump. The most expensive campaign button was sold for $225,000

Campaign buttons or campaign pins as they are often called are used during elections for local, state and national elections to promote a candidate or political party. Sometimes, they are used to promote against a particular candidate.  Campaign buttons go back as far as President George Washington, although they came into more common use late in the 1800’s.

In the early days campaign buttons were actual clothing buttons that were sewn on to various forms of dress. In modern times the buttons have pins on the reverse to attach to clothing, hence the term pinback buttons.

Collecting campaign buttons can be both fun, interesting and sometimes profitable. In fact, the world record for a price paid for a campaign button was achieved in February 2018 when a rare George Washington button in excellent condition was sold for a record price of $225,000.

The Most Expensive Campaign Button

Since 1945 The American Political Items Collector (APIC) organization has brought together button and other political memorabilia collectors who share a common interest in political history and collecting.

The value of campaign buttons is generally determined by scarcity, demand, age, and condition.  The popularity of a particular President is often a key factor. For instance, buttons promoting.

In 1860 the first commercially produced buttons with a photo of the candidate were produced and called Ferrotype buttons or tintypes. These buttons, in good condition, can still be purchased for less than $1,000.

In later years buttons were produced by lithography  where the design was printed onto paper and then covered by a celluloid (essentially a thing plastic covering)  

The first mass produced buttons date back to 1896 when William McKinley ran for the office of President of the United States. In fact, while these buttons are over one hundred years old, many are still available for under $20 since so many were originally produced. Another method (commonly referred to as a lithograph button is where the design is printed directly on the metal button without the celluloid covering.

During the presidential campaigns of Franklin Roosevelt and his opponents, buttons were produced in the millions. During the 1940 presidential election, Republican Wendell Willkie produced millions of Anti-Roosevelt slogan buttons attacking Roosevelt and denouncing his campaign for a third term.

Wendell Willkie Campaign Buttons

So whether you are just searching for a fun and interesting hobby or hoping to discover the next $225,000 button for a nice profit, collecting political campaign buttons can be a great way to enjoy collecting american history. 

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  • Hi Lori & Team I have purchased items from you over the years, since what I guess was your beginning days. All items come perfect - they are what you say - I appreciate each purchase. Is there a website where I can say “ Lori and her team are amazing as are the items I purchase”….or something similar. If so, I’m happy to do that !! All my best, John W California
    John W August 18, 2018
  • I want to thank you both for your wonderful business. With my being deeply involved in the Political arena your business feeds to my love for Politics, I enjoy getting a hold of great Political Items that are part of History collecting these treasures are a personal Hobby to me! I have ordered from you both on a number of occasions and I have to say that I am truly amazed and I appreciate everything - the speedy response, to the great customer service, the speedy arrival of items purchased arriving on time to my doorstep when promised, and more. Thank again for all that you both do for this Country through your wonderful business. I endorse Lori Ferber Collectibles!
    Walter S, Michigan February 02, 2017
  • I just want to thank you for my recent order of political pins. I happen to stumble on your Website and glad I did. The items were just as advertised- and I will be ordering in the near future. Thanks again, Scott
    Scott K January 22, 2017
  • I appreciate everything - the speedy response, the customer service, and of course, the product itself. Often, I'm skeptical and think that online testimonials only post the positive feedback, or even make up feedback. I can tell from the service I received that not only were these testimonials legitimate (just like your products), but it is likely they are all so positive because I can't imagine you getting a negative review. Thank you so much. It was a pleasure working with you. This is how customer service is supposed to look and it is so refreshing! I'll certainly be back to purchase additional gifts for my history-buff boyfriend in the future.
    - Shoshana, Golden Valley Minnesota October 11, 2016
  • Lori, The poster arrived late yesterday afternoon. It is hanging on my wall, and it looks absolutely fantastic! I smile when I see the President staring down at me as I am sitting at my desk. Thanks so much! Well done! Best, Mike B
    Mike B June 18, 2016
  • Lori: After weeks of research, asking for referrals and conducting a competitive analysis - I landed with Lori Ferber Collectibles.My journey has been wonderful to say the least Steve & Lori are excellent!
    B. G. February 26, 2015
  • Lori & Steve: Your honesty and integrity are inspiring and conducive to an ongoing business relationship.
    P.W. February 26, 2015
  • Lori: Thank you ever so much for the Presidential Inaugural Invitation. I was moved because it means so very much to me. I was in Washington D.C. last year during the inauguration, however, I had been hoping to eventually obtain something this special (I even wrote to my Congressman and others). Again, thank you so much and may you have continued success in your business in the coming years.
    W.M. February 20, 2015
  • Thank you very much for your assistance in making sure that the gift is now perfect. I have been spreading the word about the excellent customer service I've received from you
    A. H. February 26, 2015