"The Holy Grail" of Political Campaign Buttons


Member 17Oaks was surprised when I told him that a Lincoln item from his 1860 campaign was worth over $500. That is chump change compared to some other campaign pieces.

“The Holy Grail” of political campaign buttons isthe 1920 Cox - Roosevelt jugate. There are several varieties of the piece, andit always brings high prices, even when the condition is so-so.

Why? There are two prime reasons. First the"Roosevelt" on this button is Franklin D. Roosevelt. That’s right, before FDR defeated Herbert Hoover in the 1932 presidential election, he ran for vice president with James Cox in 1920. This was before he was stricken with polio and was at a time when his highest office held was assistant secretary of the Navy.

The Cox - Roosevelt campaign didn’t have much money for buttons or anything else. Therefore only a few varieties of these buttons were produced, and the number made was small. In addition, the Democrats lost badly to the Republicans, led by Harding and Coolidge. Therefore a fair number of these buttons were tossed.

This piece sold for over $30,000 at auction. I had a crackit when it was $20,000, but I couldn’t pull the trigger because I had just purchased another big item. Someone else bought it and made several thousand by consigning it to a major political items auction house.

Don’t feel too badly for me. I do have this piece to fill the hole in my collection. It’s worth a couple thousand. ANYTHING that mentions FDR on it from 1920 brings a primium. That includes in very mall button that just says “Cox - Roosevelt” on it with no picture. It’s worth $40 to $50.

Must political buttons are low priced. What I’ve shown here are the exceptions.