Huge popularity of Obama memorabilia

January 22, 2009 8:08:17 AM PST
The election of President Barack Obama is having a major impact on collectors of political memorabilia. His image already appears on thousands of political buttons. And millions of dollars worth of items related to Mr. Obama have been sold on eBay. Some of those items may become quite valuable in the not-so-distant future.

"I would say they've made more Obama buttons than anybody that's ever been up for president. They're even making them in China," said John Bordagaray, political button collector and vendor.

Barack Obama - he's a global sensation -- political button collector John Bordagaray estimates 6,000, or more, different types of buttons have been made of the 44th American president.

Everything from a classic-looking Obama campaign button to a 'Barack as Elvis,' pin for those Barack-and-roll fans, Bordagaray, a history teacher from Santa Clara, has been collecting political pins since he was 13-years-old.

"I first became interested in politics in 1968 when Robert Kennedy came through Ventura on his way to Los Angeles to give his victory speech in the primary," said Bordagaray.

His political collection started with Kennedy and has since grown to 3,000 buttons, from early presidents to the civil rights movement -- Martin Luther King, a 'Pooh for Peace' and more current politicians - George Bush, McCain-Palin, Hillary Clinton and Obama -- the newest leader that's helping Bordagaray make about $500 a month selling buttons on eBay.

"These days we just use eBay, eBay, everything's eBay," said Bordagaray.

"For the past 90 days, we saw that over 130,000 Obama related items have been sold," said Karen Bard, eBay's pop culture expert.

Bard confirms the Obama-fever. She says the past three months of sales of Obama-related items total over $5 million.

"He's really a pop-culture, clearly a political icon," said Bard.

From buttons to bobble heads - even paper dolls.

"You can have Hawaii Obama, or Michelle in a topcoat" said Bard.

Some memorabilia may just have sentimental value, others could become quite a valuable collectible.

"Things that have been autographed, especially by Barack Obama -- so we've seen books that have been autographed by him that went for about $9,800, photos, things of that nature. They can really increase in value over time," said Bard.