Sunday, December 26, 2010

The APIC and its button entrepreneurs

I wonder how many collectors today remember that the APIC prohibited members from making campaign buttons many years ago. That rule was perhaps too strict, as the organization shouldn't hinder free enterprise. Unfortunately when they dropped that rule it opened the floodgates. With many members making dozens, and in some cases hundreds, of different buttons for each election they are creating a minefield for other collectors. Most are not denying their activities, but they aren't exactly stating in their sales lists or eBay listings that they are the buttonmaker. Even the most experienced collector can be fooled on some buttons. There are just too many to track. I just found a couple of Obama buttons on eBay that were described as official. I hadn't seen them before, but they honestly did not look official. The union label was visible when the picture was enlarged, proving that they were made by an APIC member, but not the seller. Maybe they were from an official order, but I honestly don't know. I made a set of six anti-Bush buttons in 2000, and I told everyone I made them. I also took the order for an official Obama U. S. Senate button from the Illinois AFL-CIO, and I told everyone about that. It's not that hard.

The solution to this problem is for the APIC to require all members to register everything they make, both official and unofficial, so the rest of the hobby can navigate safely through the myriad of buttons made each election year. I suggested this to the APIC years ago when the ethics rules were being rewritten, and of course it was ignored. The APIC can really do more to aid collectors of modern buttons if it really wants to. Unfortunately no one seems to care.