Mike Winder is a politician who is also a political junkie and a political history buff. He even has a remarkable political button collection to prove it. He has a few buttons from each major party’s presidential nominees from the past 150 years.
His first button was a Richard Nixon pinback picked up while on a high school trip to the nation’s capital. Since then, state Rep. Winder (R-West Valley City) has picked up hundreds of buttons and is now considered to have one of the finest political memorabilia collections in the state.
While usually displayed in his corner office at the State Capitol, he has also loaned out the collection for museum displays, most recently at the Springville Museum of Art’s Rock the Vote exhibit. Many of the buttons were featured in the book “When the White House Comes to Zion,” which he co-authored with Ron Fox (another storied Utah political memorabilia collector).
He’s picked up buttons in antique shops, while attending national political conventions, and of course, on eBay. In high school, Winder was a member of the American Political Items Collectors, and would buy and trade with collectors around the country. (The APIC just congratulated him on Twitter for his growing collection.)
“It’s very nerdy, I know,” said Winder, “But it is a thrill to own small pieces of American history. Viewed as a group they celebrate the star-spangled pageantry of presidential elections. It’s fun!”
Pinback buttons debuted in the 1896 presidential election, and Winder has some William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan buttons from that race. Pins with photos on them usually are worth more than just those with words. Winning presidents’ buttons tend to go up in value over time more than runners-up. And “jugates” (buttons with portraits of the presidential nominee and vice presidential nominee side by side) are also prized by collectors.
This year, Winder was excited to add pro-Trump buttons like “Make the liberals cry again” and pro-Biden buttons like “Dump Trump” to classics like “I Like Ike,” “Nixon Now,” and “LBJ for the USA.” In the photo you can see this year’s additions. “It’s a relatively inexpensive collection,” he notes, pointing out that spending less than $100 every four years can result in a pretty great collection over a lifetime.