The Big Business of Inauguration Memorabilia

Officially, Barack Obama has already been sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. The 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution mandates the President be sworn in on January 20th before noon. If that dates falls on a Sunday, the public ceremony is moved to Monday, today. Who pays for the special inauguration events? Shoppers! This year more than 85 items have been selected to sell in the official inaugural store, which can be browsed online or in the shop not far from the White House. Sure, you can get the usual mugs, throws, shot glass, t-shirt and button, but there are some even more interesting pieces of memorabilia like the official Barack Obama 44 tube socks (do people still wear tube socks?) According to the website, it’s a bestseller. The inaugural baseball cap sports the seal off to the left with OBAMA embroidered on the back.

For the kids, a toy wooden limousine is available for purchase, “Handmade in Vermont out of locally sourced maple wood,” that touts, “Get one before they roll away.”

If you’re wondering how successful the store is, the Presidential Inauguration Committee is not talking, but there many be some clues in recent ventures. Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour’s launched “Runway to Win” in February 2012, which presented products associated with Obama’s reelection campaign from major designers for sale as a way to raise money for his reelection. Campaign Manager Jim Messina recently told Bloomberg Businessweek the venture produced “north of $40 million.” Product design pays.


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