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Collectors love scandal... And can't get enough of Richard M Nixon

Four decades since his resignation over Watergate, ex-President Nixon is still loved by collectors

If it's scandal you want, look no further than Tricky Dicky...

It is now 37 years since President Richard M. Nixon was forced to resign following damaging revelations in the Watergate scandal.

Amid allegations of covert bugging and election sabotage, Nixon's fate as a scourge of American pride was sealed. Today, he remains the only US President to have ever resigned.

And so to was his considerable legacy on the collectible markets, for no reason more complex than that people love a villain.

Take Nixon's most recent appearance on the collectors' markets: a 1967 critique of future president Richard Nixon by media consultant Jack Bynam.

The report mentions Nixon's "loose fingers, hanging downward from bent wrists moving toward the camera in a swimming motion are confusing, and have grotesque connotations." 

Bynam's criticisms were harsh but constructive, and presumably worked considering that Nixon won the US Presidency the following year.

The document is clearly of great historical interest, and is set to auction with a $4,000 estimate.

Given Nixon's notoriety, there will surely be great interest in the piece. But you could buy a document related to Nixon's actual resignation for even less.

Currently on the markets is an 8" x 5" souvenir page printed with a mock Whitehouse letterhead, dated August 9, 1974, the day Nixon resigned.

It features the famous communication to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger: "Dear Mr. Secretary: I hereby resign the Office of President of the United States."

It seems bizarre that Nixon would sign a mocked-up version of the letter that destroyed his political career - nevertheless the signature is definitely his. Perhaps he had more of a sense of humour than people gave him credit for.

Nixon has signed at the conclusion in black ink, and it is for sale on the markets priced at £1,200.

As rare pieces like this show, Richard M Nixon might be a villain of political history, but he remains an icon for collectors.

Watch this space for upcoming news on RR Auction's sale of Jack Bynam's Nixon letter, which ends on August 10.


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Image: RR Auction

Last updated: 8 August 2011