Why Wyclef Jean could soon have us investing in an exclusive group of collectibles

After months of speculation, rapper Wyclef Jean has confirmed he is running for the Presidency of Haiti; handing in his official documentation this week before stating:

"I would like to tell President Barack Obama that the United States has Obama and Haiti has Wyclef Jean,"

Whether or not Jean will be the man to bring about change in Haiti remains unclear but if he is successful at the election he will be joining a select group of celebrity politicians.

All of which, has got us thinking. Just how much could collectibles related to these figures be worth in the future and is it worth investing in political celebrity memorabilia now?

According to political analyst Darrell M. West, celebrities often reach office because of what he terms the "white knight" phenomenon:

"In an era of extensive citizen cynicism about conventional politicians, voters often see celebrities as white knights from outside the political process who are too rich to be bought and thereby deserving of trust from the electorate."

As distrust of traditional politics grows across the world more and more celebrity names are becoming involved in politics.

Like FIFA world player of the year George Weah in Africa.

In 2005, the sports star stood for the Presidency of Liberia, losing a closely fought race.


George Weah's AC Milan Shirt
Since then Weah has remained involved in political causes. Political analysts now believe that 2011 will see him embark on a repeat run for the Presidency which may prove more successful.

The past few years have already seen increasing interest in Weah memorabilia and in particular his signed shirts.

Back in 2007 Christie's auctioned Weah's match worn shirt from his time at AC Milan when he won an unprecedented treble of the European, African and World footballer of the year titles in 1995. The shirt sold for £240 ($475).

Yet just three years later, a shirt from his time at Manchester City was valued at £600 ($900), over double the previous price.

Having won every individual award in the world of football, including "African Player of the Century," Weah is now ranked in the same league as players like Maradona and Pele.

With the later selling his 1970 world cup shirt for £157,000 ($235,500) some thirty two years later in 2002, Weah shirts could yet reach world record prices in the long term.

And the value of Weah memorabilia could even see a sharp increase in value at auction if he were to become President of Liberia.


Manny Pacquiao's signed boxing glove

Elsewhere in sports, boxer Manny Pacquiao won election as a member of the House of Representatives from Sarangani in the Philippines in June 2010. 

Today a signed Everlast boxing glove from Pacquiao is worth $638.

Considering that Pacquiao has already enjoyed global success as a fighter as well as appearing as an actor and recording artist, the value of this glove could rise quickly.

Yet the true superpowers of political celebrity collectibles come from the U.S.

The 1990s saw figures like Stevie Wonder run unsuccessfully for office, as well as Sonny Bono, of Sonny & Cher, become a member of the House of Representatives. Yet by far the biggest name to come to office in America has come in the last decade.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is entering his 7th year as Governor of California and currently offers the most potential to anyone looking at investing in the market of political celebrity collectibles.

A number of comparisons can be made with the 40th President of the United States Ronald Reagan to demonstrate this investment potential.

For instance both have served as Governor of California.

And while Reagan may have served later as President, Schwarzenegger's political standing is greatly enhanced thanks to his marriage to Maria Shriver.

Shriver is the niece of former President John F. Kennedy. The links to this dynasty of American politics may ensure that Governor Schwarzenegger remains a cornerstone of the American government for years to come.

And as far back as 2004, Schwarzenegger has talked of pushing for a constitutional amendment that could one day even see him become President Schwarzenegger. Under the current restrictions, because he was born in Austria, he would be unable to stand for the Presidency.

Add to this, Schwarzenegger's iconic screen status, and you have all the ingredients for him to become one of the most sought after political stars of the collectibles market in recent years.

You only have to compare the value of his and Reagan's film memorabilia to see this.

While Reagan was never as prolific an actor as Schwarzenegger collectibles from his movie career have proven popular at auction thanks to his political standing, with some Gallup polls between 2001 and 2007 ranking him as the most popular President of the modern era.

An auction in October 2006 saw the sale of the football boots with mud cleats worn by Reagan in the 1940 film "Knute Rockne All American" which was remembered as one of his signature roles. The boots sold for £6,400 ($10,157).Unlike Reagan, Schwarzenegger's success as a film star has already led to collectors to invest in his movie memorabilia.


Schwarzenegger's Terminator 2
Leather Jacket

Undoubtedly the most valuable movie memorabilia from Schwarzenegger's illustrious film career comes from the Terminator franchise.

The first two films alone grossed $598 million at the box office. In 2009, a life size model of the star as the T-800 was put up for auction with a starting price of £66,000 ($100,000).

And as far back as 1999 Christie's hosted the sale of one of the most iconic props of Terminator 2.

A black leather jacket, featuring simulated bullet holes and in a well worn condition, worn by Schwarzenegger in the role of John Connors' robot protector, came up for sale, the piece sold for £11,030 ($16,100).

Given that Reagan film memorabilia saw higher prices at auction once he was in office, the value of Schwarzenegger memorabilia could go up even more in the years to come.

So as you can see, the market certainly offers lots of potential sources for investing in collectibles that could one day see high sale prices.

With some Wyclef Jean signed Fugees memorabilia now available for around £100 ($150), investing now could offer long term rewards to collectors and investors alike.


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