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American Presidential Memorabilia

Interested in a long-term investment? Look no further than history — collecting political memorabilia is a profitable pastime for many. As with most collections, prices can range from just a few dollars for paper items, such as postcards, to thousands of dollars for antique presidential objects.

"With the instability of the stock market, people want to put money in value, something that will appreciate in value," says Megan Miller of Juliens Auctions in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Political memorabilia, especially presidential material, has been collected since the days of George Washington when buttons — clothing buttons of engraved metal, not the souvenir pins of today — were issued for his inauguration. It wasn't until the 1830s, however, that political collecting took off. Andrew Jackson's 1824 presidential campaign employed advertising items — snuff boxes, campaign posters, buttons, etc. — in his unsuccessful battle against John Quincy Adams.

Experts say the popularity of a president, as well as the rarity of an item, is an important factor in establishing allure and value. Today, collectors gather everything — bumper stickers, posters, newspapers, postcards, glassware, ballots and leaflets. While it's too soon to say what President Barack Obama's memorabilia will fetch, it's bound to have unusual value because he was the first African-American president.

Click ahead to see what items are in the political and presidential memorabilia market, with price tags ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to, well, priceless.

*Pre-auction price is the estimated valued price of the item before the auction. Auction price is the acual price of the item sold during the time of auction.

By Jessica Naziri
Posted 1 November 2011