Down the Ballot

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

EBAY FIND # 2 Charles Martin


So the last ebay find I profiled was rather expensive. Here is an Oregon centered political pin that is well within a modest ten dollar spending limit. This is a 1938 Charles Martin for Governor button it is a 7/8" celluloid.

A celluloid button, according to collector Ron Wade is "a button made of paper with a celluloid covering. Both are wrapped around a metal disc and are held in place by a metal rim on the back of the item." These are still used in many modern day political campaigns. The biggest change is that technology has allowed for cheaper, bigger buttons...but back to Charles Martin.

Martin was a military man and served forty years in the service, including stints in the Spanish-American war and World War I. He retired as a Major General and started his new life out in politics by being elected to congress from Oregon's 3rd congressional district. He then found his way to the governorship in 1934. This was in the midst of the Great Depression. For more info on Charles Martin you can read his wikipedia page.

For a Democrat, he was anything but a pro-Roosevelt, pro-New Deal Democrat. He spurred so much ill will in the Democratic Party of Oregon that he failed to win renomination in 1938. He was beaten by Henry Hess, who was himself beaten by Republican Charles Sprague thanks in part to an angry Charles Martin and his supporters actively campaigning for Sprague.

While this button is seventy-two years old, it is still fairly common and most are in great shape. You should be able to find it for between $5 and $10 dollars if the seller is reasonable. It was produced by the The Irwin-Hodson Company which is still in business. Must be a fairly good place to work if they've been open for 114 years. You can find these buttons on ebay right now.

Martin was also the subject of the book Iron Pants by Gary Murrell.
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