Canfield political button collector Jack Dixey won in the political arena recently after he added a rare campaign button to his already large collection. He purchased the elusive Railway Employees Roosevelt Club-Stark County 1936 campaign button for $2,000.
"The FDR/Stark County button is only the fourth one known [to exist]," Dixey said. "I had a chance to acquire one years ago at a lower price but my personal finances prevented the purchase. I had no idea that it would be decades later before I had another opportunity to acquire it. I didn't want this one to get away."
Dixey began his hobby as a child. His grandmother, retired Canfield school teacher Margret Scott got him involved in collecting political buttons at age 13. It was 1968 and the presidential campaign was in full swing.
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Jack Dixey of Canfield, will likely be adding to his vast collection of political buttons with this year’s presidential election. He has been collecting since he was 13.
"Some of the first buttons I acquired came from the Canfield Fair [that year]," he said. "The fair continues to be a great source of campaign items for both parties."
As Dixey built his collection, he joined the American Political Items Collectors, which is a national organization of collectors of campaign buttons, ribbons, banners, posters, photography, textiles, china, glass and other election memorabilia.
As a member, he is instrumental in putting on an annual fall show in Canton, where collectors meet, trade, buy and sell political items from the past. It is a show that was open to the public and non-members were welcome to bring vintage buttons and political collectibles to have them appraised or put up for auction.
"The general public was invited to attend the show, which resulted in several people bringing their political items in for a free appraisal," Dixey said. "One man showed up with a four-generation collection of McKinley items. He left with over $1,500."
He said near the end of the show, a fellow brought in an original Abraham Lincoln photo. He was too proud to part with it, but it did stir a lot of interest from collectors.
With the show over, Dixie said many collectors have kept an eye out for this year's campaign buttons. He said coattail buttons with both a national, statewide, or local candidate are always popular with collectors.
"Ones of particular interest are limited in distribution," Dixey said. "[Buttons from] one-day events made for a personal appearance have an appeal. These are usually not available on the Internet and have to be acquired directly from a headquarters or by attending an event."
Although Dixey's big show is over, he invites people with buttons or collections to contact him at Dixeycitylimits@yahoo.com. He will help with appraisals or selling them.
For the young soon-to-be collector, he said there is no better time to get started than right now.
"The excitement for campaign buttons and items is always renewed every four years and this year has been no exception," he said.