Most experts will tell you to “collect what you like” regardless if it’s stamps, coins, bamboo fly rods, signed books or first edition books. But what draws collectors to the niche of Presidential books?
Consider it from a biographical standpoint; presidents cross over many areas of interest. They come from an array of professional backgrounds: politicians, lawyers, military, business, and acting to name a few.
By applying their diverse life experiences to the office they hold, they alter the fabric of the society during their tenure. They became inspirational figures as humanitarians, philanthropists, writers, and diplomats. They are at the apex of important international and domestic decisions, which have the potential to alter a society for generations to come.
A President for Every Age:
Presidents are often associated with the time-period they served. Over the course of its nearly 250-year history, various presidents altered that history and sociology of that time. Books about, or by American presidents inherently include information on some of the most popular time periods: the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Reconstruction Era, the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, the Civil Rights Movement, the Cold War Era, and the Information Age.
Hold and Increase in Value:
As James Gillis from M.S. Rau Antiques in New Orleans mentions in the New York Times article A Presidential Collectible’s Value? Depends on the President, “No presidential materials are negative. People from all over the country collect them.”
He goes on to say, “Lincoln memorabilia are coveted most, and are among the best investments, followed by items associated with George Washington and the two Roosevelts. In more recent years, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan have become popular among aficionados.”
Presidential collectables hold their value and often increase in value as the historical narrative on an era begins to evolve. Woodrow Wilson, for example, was viewed as a mediocre president during the 1920s, as historians grappled with his failure to establish the League of Nations. As the historical narrative of the early 20th Century has evolved, so has histories view of the Wilson Presidency.
Below is a wide variety of Presidential signed collectables, ranging the 20th and 21st Century:
Crusade In Europe
The White House Years
A History of the American People
A Charge to Keep
41: A Portrait Of My Father
Read My Lips: No New Taxes
All The Best – My Life in Letters and Other Writings
Present Day Problems
Ethics In Service
The Ohio Society of Philadelphia – Fourth Annual Banquet
An American Life
Speaking My Mind
Big Game Hunting
African Game Trails
The Audacity of Hope
Obama: An Intimate Portrait
by Pete Souza (Forward by Barack Obama)
While this list is by no means exhaustive, it provides an excellent foundation for both the burgeoning or more advanced presidential book collector.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a rare, special edition, or signed book that will stand the test of time and appeal to a wide range of readers, look no further than some of the best biographical work on American presidents. Owning a piece of history will never be outdated.
“Major Periods in World History.” Biography Online. 29 May 2018. <https://www.biographyonline.net/blog.html/>.
Sullivan, Paul. “A Presidential Collectible’s Value? Depends on the President”. The New York Times. 29 May 2018. <https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/02/your-money/a-presidential-collectibles-value-depends-on-the-president.html>.