Presidential mementos up for auction by Skelton estate

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An appointment certificate signed by both President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, an unopened box of Air Force One M&Ms and countless letters from former commanders in chief dating back to the Truman administration are all up for grabs as part of an auction of items from the estate of the late Rep. Ike Skelton.

The Missouri Democrat served in Congress for more than three decades before losing to Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) in 2010. He died last year at age 81. Now, hundreds of items from his days in the House are being put on the auction block.

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Jason Roske, the owner of KC Auction and Appraisal Co., never met the congressman, but he gathers from the items he sorted through and analyzed that Skelton “must have been a voracious letter writer.”

“He had his ‘famous files,’ ” Roske explains. “And so anybody who was in politics, anybody who was a celebrity outside of politics, heads of state, a lot of military leaders, he kept those [letters].”

Among the unique correspondence that Skelton saved: a 1985 letter to him penned by Margaret Thatcher. “We have so much to thank America for,” the late British prime minister wrote in a handwritten note.

Another memento: a photo of Skelton on Air Force One with former President Carter. “Ike is actually asleep in a chair and President Carter is sitting right next to him, laughing at him,” says Roske. “[Carter] wrote a note, ‘To my good friend, Ike Skelton: alert guardian of the public’s interest.’ ”

There are messages up for auction from several political heavyweights, including former Vice Presidents Dan Quayle and Al Gore, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), the late former Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.), ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); a birthday note from former President Reagan; and several letters from former Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, just to name a few.

The Missouri-based auctioneer says with more than 350 different lots of Hill-related nostalgia, the auction is a potential goldmine for political junkies, historians and attorneys. Almost all of the items have an opening bid of $5, including Skelton’s appointment letter to the American Battle Monuments Commission, signed by Obama and Clinton.

“Quite possibly the current president and the next president on a single document, I think that’s a pretty fascinating piece of history,” Roske tells ITK. He adds, “The possibility exists that you could buy a Barack Obama letter for $5.”

Bidding is online-only at www.kcauctioncompany.com. The auction ends June 30.