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Want a $10,000 presidential lunchbox?

presidential memorabilia
Bidding on this Republican lunch bucket, above, signed by four presidents and other GOP notables, starts at $10,000. A collection of 60 original campaign buttons is expected to sell for $600-1,000  
  ALSO
 

November 3, 2000
Web posted at: 4:35 p.m. EST (2135 GMT)

(CNN) -- Thirty-two years ago, an Ohio delegate to the Republican National Convention decided to start gathering signatures of GOP bigwigs. On a lunch bucket.

Before long, the autographs on her hand-painted pail amounted to a Who's Who of the Republican Party: presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George Bush; Nelson Rockefeller; Bob Dole; Sen. Strom Thurmond; Spiro Agnew; Phyllis Schlafly and then some.

Now it's one of more than 140 presidential items being auctioned off by Sotheby's on its Web site in recognition of the upcoming U.S. election.

"We have had extraordinary success with American historical material," said Marsha Malinowski, Sotheby's senior vice president for books and manuscripts. "To have this sale on the site during and around the presidential election is something we thought would be an interesting thing to do."

Among the most notable items in the auction are three letters written in 1790 -- from President George Washington, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Connecticut Gov. Samuel Huntington -- documenting North Carolina's establishment the previous year as the 12th state in the union.

"For there to be a comprehensive packet of all that material is really quite extraordinary," Malinowski said.

Historical and whimsical

circa 1861 photograph of Abraham Lincoln
Mathew Brady's circa 1861 photograph of Abraham Lincoln. Brady was the first photographer on the scene to record the American Civil War, and was known as "Mr. Lincoln's cameraman"  

Also being auctioned are early photos of Abraham Lincoln, a signed copy of Sen. John F. Kennedy's book "Profiles in Courage," and Edward VIII's memoirs, bearing an inscription to Kennedy.

The auction features more than 40 vintage photographs from The New York Times: President Franklin D. Roosevelt hunting possums in Georgia, President Dwight Eisenhower throwing out the first ball at the World Series and Nixon's last day as president.

On the more whimsical side are a "no parking" sign from Nixon's 1969 inauguration, a collection of 60 campaign buttons and pins and a signed print by children's author Maurice Sendak celebrating President Clinton's 1993 inauguration.

Bidding for many of the items continues into next week, but some will be for sale a little longer.

The estimated prices range from $100 to as much as $175,000.

If you want to get your hands on that lunch pail, prepare to shell out anywhere from $12,500 to $15,000. It may seem like a lot of money, but the bucket could be just the thing for a right-leaning loved one. As Sothebys.com says, it's "the perfect holiday gift for the person who has everything."



RELATED STORIES:
Ceremony marks White House's 200 years as 'symbol of leadership'
November 1, 2000
National Portrait Gallery taking 'Portraits of the Presidents' on tour
September 8, 2000
JFK auction fails to match frenzy of Jackie O sale
March 18, 1998

RELATED SITES:
Sotheby's
Maurice Sendak - Steve Barclay Agency
The British Monarchy: Edward VIII
Colonial Hall: Biography of Samuel Huntington
John F. Kennedy Library home page

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