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Press Release - November 14, 2003

Heritage Auction Premiere: First Political Buttons and Memorabilia Auction a Success

Dallas, Texas: Heritage Galleries and Auctioneers just completed their first auction of political buttons and political memorabilia in New York City. The Aaron Bliss Collection of Political Buttons and Memorabilia was sold on November 7.

"The word "bargain" will not come up too often when discussing the Bliss Collection," Noted Heritage Co-Chairman Steve Ivy. "The sale realized an impressive $122,983, a superb showing for the 210 lots. Most of the items realized the estimated price and in many cases greatly exceeded pre-sale estimates. As expected, the vast majority of bids came from Internet bidders, with a dedicated group of floor bidders having to bid aggressively to win lots away from the Internet participants. We also enjoyed strong mail bid participation, the result of our marketing campaign that delivered catalogs to the members of APIC, the American Political Items Collectors group."

This comprehensive collection included many exciting and historically relevant pieces, including: a George Washington snuffbox that brought $1,035 on a $750 pre-sale estimate. (
A Washington "Eagle With Star" Brass Inaugural Button realized $2,530, while the estimate was only $1,000. (
A James K. Polk / George M. Dallas satin campaign ribbon from Texas brought $1,897.50. (
The premier lot in the sale was a sixth plate daguerreotype of Franklin Pierce, housed in an original leatherette case with gilt around the portrait. This impressive lot was hammered down at $15,525 on a seemingly generous estimate of $8,000. (

The ferrotypes were also especially strong with most of them bringing over (and some substantially more than) the pre-sale estimates. Among the more interesting and well-preserved ferros in this sale were an 1860 Lincoln-Hamlin jugate stickpin that brought an unexpected $3,622.50. ( Most of the other ferrotypes from the 1860-1872 elections brought prices in the $250-$550 range, depending upon condition, candidate, and election. A particularly noteworthy and scarce ferro from the 1864 election featured John C. Fremont and his vice-presidential candidate, Cochrane, in a back-to-back "Galt" badge with hourglass windows. That particular piece realized $1,265. ( From the election of 1872, a Greeley ferrotype badge brought a very impressive $1,092.50. (

A possibly unique Andrew Johnson stickpin realized $1,610. ( One of the most prized pieces in Aaron Bliss' collection was a glass lanternslide with Andrew Johnson's image, and a 15-cent revenue stamp on one side. This piece brought $488.75. (

Undoubtedly, the most impressive piece among the later political items offered for sale was a 1920 Cox Notification pin. Made in a time before the candidate attended the actual convention (a tradition not begun until 1932), nominees were formally notified of their selection at notification ceremonies. Badges, such as this one, were made and a committee went to the candidate's home to "give him the good news." This scarce, large size Cox picture pin and a nearly pristine red satin ribbon imprinted "Columbus, O." brought $6,250. (

The most unusual piece of Suffragette Material offered from the Bliss Collection was a heart-shaped aluminum bookmark with the photo of Susan B. Anthony, founder of the Women's Suffrage movement. That possibly unique item brought $1,050. (

"Americans have a well-known fascination with politics," noted Heritage President Greg Rohan, "but most of their attention is devoted to current events. Collectors of such campaign material take a much broader view, a historical perspective on the political process and personalities that make history come alive. These artifacts remind us that historical passions are clashes every bit as exciting as current events."

Catalog descriptions, full-color enlargeable images, and prices realized for the Bliss Collection can be found in the Permanent Auction Archives at Membership at the website is free, and it takes only seconds to join; your free password opens up access to a half-million archived lots.

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