jmonroe (jmonroe) wrote,

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Betty Ford and Richard Nixon impersonator spotted in downtown Peoria

After dealing with a very angry neighbor last week, I decided to go shopping this weekend. Armed with a $20 bill and some change, I headed to the Illinois Antique Center on Water St. in Peoria, where I normally find something politically-oriented every time I go.

There is a large collection of vintage print ads and articles in one dealer's booth. I thought I might run across a frameable United Airlines advertisement from the early 1960's or late 1950's. I didn't find a thing aviation-related.

At home, where I've been cleaning up a lot, and finding ways to display Dave's collections, I placed two 1970's Pepsi bottles on a kitchen shelf. They look nice. One dealer at the antique center has quite the Pepsi memorabilia collection. I considered for a moment buying an empty 1960's Pepsi bottle, but considering what I found a few minutes later on a bookshelf, I'm glad I passed the bottle up.

Another dealer sells used books. I looked in the biography section for books on first ladies. Again, I found nothing but a trashy Kitty Kelley exposé on Jacqueline Onassis. Definitely worth passing up. I went around to the other side of the shelf, where I had remembered seeing some books on American history. Two names caught my eye: Betty Ford and Richard Nixon. I first looked at the Ford book. It was marked in pencil on the first page stating that the book was signed, and the seller was asking $20. Then I looked at the Nixon book, which was also signed, yet a previous owner had marked it up on the title page with his own thoughts on Nixon and Vietnam. The asking price was $75.

After asking the store manager to hold both books for me, I ran home, because I had forgotten my cell phone, to make a call to the owner of Main Street Fine Books & Manuscripts in Galena, Illinois. I called to ask his advice on the books. His thought: Buy the Betty Ford book, and steer clear of the Nixon book, because it was 98% likely to be an autopen signature—meaning it was signed by a machine replicating Nixon's signature.

So I bought the Ford book for $21.60 (tax included), and found out it's worth about $160. I feel good about this.

I still wish I could find some good Pat Nixon letters, and I found one for $300. I'm thinking about it. Because at that price, I can't really resell it. And because it's about popcorn, no one will want to buy it. So I'd have to be happy with owning a letter about food from Nebraska. That's what they're about... corn, right?
Tags: autographs, betty ford, books, corn, correspondence, illinois, jackie kennedy, kitty kelley, nebraska, neighbors, peoria, pepsi, popcorn, richard nixon
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