Collecting Presidential Campaign Buttons


The bulk of my collection is my general presidential pinback collection. Political buttons as we know them were first used in the 1896 election between William Mckinley and William Jennings Bryan. I collect pins from the 1896 to the 1960 Presidential elections with an emphasis on those produced by obscure western manufacturers. Since the mid 1960’s, there has been a shift in marketing so more items are being produced for direct sale to collectors rather than candidate’s campaigns which is less appealing to me.  The scope of this topic is too broad for this forum. In fact, several books detail this aspect of our hobby and I would refer readers to these sources: “Hake’s “Political Button Books volumes I-III”, Warda’s “100 Years of Political Campaign Collectibles” and Bristow’s “Illustrated Political Button Book”. In addition, there are multiple Facebook groups with ongoing discussions of presidential buttons, their values and reproductions. I also strongly recommend joining the APIC if you are planning to collect political items as the members have a wealth of knowledge to share about this hobby. The value of campaign items, like any other commodity, is based on supply and demand. With the start of eBay a flood of items came to the market without a concordant increase in demand thus the value of graphic but not rare items has fallen in the last several years. True rarities have not suffered this fate, have maintained their value and have appreciated greatly over this time period. Below are a selection of pins from my collection covering the elections of 1896 through 1960. Many collectors attempt to collect a representation of each major candidate and advanced collectors target a jugate (a button with pictures of both the presidential and vice-presidential candidate) for each of the major parties. In the twentieth century there are four tickets that make this a daunting task; it took me over forty years to complete the set. In increasing rarity and cost the tickets that are most difficult are: Harding and Coolidge 1920 Republican, Roosevelt and Johnson 1912 Progressive, Davis and Bryan 1924 Democrat and the “Holy Grail” Cox and Roosevelt 1920 Democrat. A photo of a grouping of these jugates is shown below.

Tough Twentieth Century Jugates

William Mckinley  1896 and 1900

William Bryan  1896, 1900 and 1908

Eugene Debs 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920

Theodore Roosevelt  1904 and 1900 VP

Alton Parker  1904

William Taft 1908 and 1912

Theodore Roosevelt 1912 and 1916

Woodrow Wilson  1912 and 1916

Charles Hughes  1916

Warren Harding  1920

James Cox  1920

Calvin Coolidge  1924

John Davis  1924

Robert Lafollette Progressive Party 1924

Herbert Hoover   1928 and 1932

Alfred Smith  1928

Franklin Roosevelt  1932,1936,1940 and 1944

Alfred Landon  1936

Wendell Willkie  1940

Thomas Dewey  1944 and 1948

Harry Truman  1948

Dwight Eisenhower  1952 and 1956

Adali Stevenson  1952 and 1956

John Kennedy and Richard Nixon  1960

If you have campaign items you would like to sell or have appraised contact us through the link above or text photos to (406)217-2017