Barack Obama, and the Rush For Election Souvenirs

The rush for election souvenirs reminds us why we collect: to preserve our most moving memories

Illustration by Jon Krause for TIME

Prosperity has its favorite hobbies, its gold-trimmed roadsters and superyachts and the million-dollar platinum fishing lure studded with 100 carats of diamonds. But in an age of austerity, when we seek satisfaction on the cheap, some pursuits are all about value, but not necessarily about money. This is the beauty of the collector's world. When you don't like the look of the economy, you get to make your own.

At the moment, people have decided that anything related to Barack Obama--not just posters and T shirts but magnets and mouse pads and coasters and clocks--has special value. For most people, I...

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