Politics is one of the oldest fields of human endeavour, and also one that brings out some of the strongest emotions. Political collectables are some of the most sought-after examples of historical memorabilia, even more so than the closely related field of royalty collectables. Every country has politics, even if they don't have a connection to any monarchy.
American Political Collectables
No matter where you are in the world, you can almost always find American political collectables. From the millions of campaign buttons featuring one President or another, to tickets to the inauguration, American collectables are everywhere. While they may not have the same impact here in Australia, they are still sought after and readily available.
Types of Collectables
Most political collectables are for giving away in large numbers during campaigns, so their rarity is a function of their age. Campaign buttons, hats, and textiles often fall into this category. Other items such as correspondence are much less common, and can be more valuable for that reason. Autographs, especially on photographs, are popular and personal items are always in demand.
Judging a Collectable
There are several factors to consider when looking at a collectable, from provenance to condition. Provenance is more than just authenticity; it's the paper trail you can use to prove authenticity. Condition is another important factor as is the significance of the item. Age matters as well, older collectables are often more desirable.
You base collectable value on a triangle: condition, rarity, and demand. You need all three to realise the greatest value from any collectable, political or otherwise. The more people want something, the more they will pay. Rarity and condition both drive prices up, but only when the demand is already there. Another driver of value is significance; a signed piece of major legislation or a personal letter is going to draw more attention than a simple signed photograph.