Political memorabilia show features items going back to George Washington

Oct 21, 2016

There will be buttons from Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt’s campaigns, items from the 1901 Pan-American Expo, and even materials from the current presidential campaigns. A political memorabilia show is being held this weekend at the Hyatt Place Hotel Buffalo/Amherst.

George Washington's inaugural button from the late 1700s will be on display in a show that features items from nearly every U.S. president.

George Washington's inaugural button is among the items on display at Saturday's show.
Credit Bren Price

Show coordinator Bren Price thinks interest in memorabilia spikes during presidential election years.

“I think people are interested in history in general during campaign years and this year, there’s more interest,” Price said. “Now, I don’t know whether that’s negative interest or positive interest, but many people think that they’d like to have some artifacts that represent this election because it is so different from those that we’ve had in the past.”

Price says seeing old political memorabilia is a good reminder of how today’s campaigns compare with the past. He said political memorabilia hasn’t changed significantly over the years.

“Well, in many ways, it hasn’t changed at all. But what it says, it’s really a mirror or a reflection of the culture and society at that time. You have many slogans that are used on campaign pins and paper items which would otherwise be lost without artifacts that tell the stories of the presidents and the campaigns.”

An item from the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo will also be displayed.
Credit Bren Price

As for the current campaign memorabilia, Price said there will be some items from this election that will maintain and grow in value, "but typically what happens is that once the elections wane, some of the interest declines. Value is really based on supply and demand.”

There will be hotel room hopping Friday night where people can buy, sell and trade with dealers in their hotel rooms. A 50-item auction of political, expo and popular culture items will take place at 8 p.m.

The show is being held Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., followed by a free trip to the “Presidents in Buffalo” exhibit at the Margaret L. Wendt Archive and Resource Center at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Admission is $5, or free for students.