Looking to Cash in on Obama Memorabilia? Think again Advises BBB

January 11, 2009
Posters, buttons, coins, plates, cologne, bobbleheads: Just a few examples of Obama memorabilia being snatched up by Americans wanting to own a piece of history. However, for those looking to get rich off such merchandise, the Better Business Bureau warns that the only value for most Obama memorabilia is sentimentality.

But that’s not stopping many Americans from purchasing Obama keepsakes. According to estimates by the New York Times, consumers have already spent as much as $200 million on Obamabilia. While some items, such as those connected to Obama’s time in the Senate are expected to increase in value, items related to the presidential race and Inauguration Day are not expected to substantially increase in value.

For consumers looking to own a piece of history, your BBB offers the following advice:

Get educated. Research the value of Obama-related items before purchasing memorabilia, especially items with the potential to appreciate in value.

Confirm authenticity. Autographs can be verified by a third party, but for other pieces, the collector should ask basic questions, including how the seller came to own it. If the seller can’t answer a few simple questions, walk away.

Make purchases with a credit card. Always purchase items with a credit card when shopping online. If the seller turns out to be fraudulent, you can dispute the charge with the credit card company and may be eligible for reimbursement.

Purchase items from a reputable seller. Look for the BBB seal on Web sites and click on the seal to confirm its legitimacy. If there isn’t a BBB seal on the site, check out a company with your BBB before buying at www.wynco.bbb.org.

Don’t be fooled by empty advertising claims. If a seller claims a commemorative plate or coin is part of a limited edition, find out how many pieces are in that edition. If the item is widely advertised, chances are it’s too common to gain value over time.

Start With Trust. Before making a purchasing decision, consumers should first check the company out at www.wynco.bbb.org or call 970-484-1348 or 800-564-0371 for reliable consumer tips and information.