Greensboro to host political collectibles show
Winston Blair may be the biggest Ronald Reagan supporter in North Carolina.
If you doubt it, check out the room where Blair — a Triad-based collector of political memorabilia — displays his Reagan memorabilia. The room is wall-to-wall Reagan, from posters, pennants and plates to buttons, bumper stickers and bags of jelly beans (one of Reagan’s favorite snacks).
There’s even a Ronald Reagan jack-in-the-box.
“I started out as a general collector, but I just collect Reagan items now,” Blair says. “There’s so much stuff out there, I realized I could never be just a general collector — I would have to collect a specific candidate or a specific election.”
He chose Reagan.
“Probably just because of the same politics,” he explains. “I was born during his presidency, and I kind of fell in love with that. Also, he’s modern enough to where his stuff is not that expensive or rare, which makes it a little easier to collect him.”
Blair, of Clemmons, is one of at least two dozen collectors expected to display some of his memorabilia at a political collectibles show this weekend. Sponsored by the Dixie Chapter of the American Political Items Collectors, the show will take place Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Holiday Inn Airport in Greensboro.
“There aren’t any shows in South Carolina or Tennessee or southern Virginia, so this is the show for this region,” Blair says. “It’s gotten to be a fairly big show, and we’ll have a number of people there from other states.”
Also, for attendees who want to bring in their own political memorabilia, some of the collectors will be available to identify, appraise and possibly even buy it. Items will be auctioned to the highest bidder, with 10 percent of the proceeds going to the show’s sponsoring organization.
Blair is relatively new to the political collectibles field, having started about six years ago.
“I got started with the 2008 presidential election,” he recalls. “I had always been a fan of presidents — I grew up going to presidents’ birthplaces, tombs, homes they lived in and places like that — so I started looking around for political items, and it just kind of took off from there.”
It was around 2010 that he made the decision to focus his collection on Reagan memorabilia.
In addition to dozens of Reagan buttons, posters and bumper stickers, some of Blair’s more unusual items include the aforementioned jack-in-the-box; a collectible plate featuring Reagan and his running mate, George H.W. Bush; commemorative bags of jelly beans; hats and neckties; and a large Gov. Reagan poster, from the late president’s gubernatorial stint in California.
One item Blair is especially proud of is a “North Carolina for Reagan” button.
“They’re pretty hard to find,” he explains. “A lot of state-specific buttons were kind of limited, because they would’ve only been produced for delegates from North Carolina, so there aren’t thousands of them out there. It’s probably more like less than a hundred out there. And then just being in North Carolina makes it special, too.”
Blair points out that while older memorabilia tends to be more expensive, that’s not always the case. Sometimes the value of an item is determined by quantity than age, he says.
“For example, you can find a William McKinley button from 1900 for $10, whereas there could be a Romney or Obama button for $200, just because it’s based on how many were made,” Blair says. “Collectors refer to 1896 to 1920 as ‘The Golden Age’ — that’s when the era of buttons began, and they were mass-produced because it was such new technology.”
Blair points out that while when he purchases an item, he prefers to put it on display, rather than store it somewhere for safekeeping.
“That’s why I have a room for all of my stuff,” he says. “It’s no fun to have that stuff in a closet somewhere. You want to be able to enjoy it.”
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Want to go?
A political collectibles show, hosted by the Dixie Chapter of the American Political Items Collectors, will be held Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Holiday Inn Airport, 6426 Burnt Poplar Road, Greensboro.
Attendees can bring political material to be identified, appraised and/or sold. Materials brought in to be sold will be auctioned to the highest bidder, with 10 percent of the proceeds going to the Dixie Chapter of the APIC.
Show admission is $3, free for students.
For more information, contact Charlie Hertlein at (336) 852-1133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.