What Happens to Romney-for-President T-Shirts?
In the past two presidential elections, Barack Obama merchandise proved an enduring cottage industry. Mitt Romney merch, not so much: Even before Election Day, “Romney stuff was harder to move,” says Bob Levine, marketing director for Madco Printing & Advertising, a St. Louis printer that sold about 400 of its $30 T-shirts to the Romney campaign in Missouri. Now, he says, they may go for much less. “I don’t see a major market for this stuff,” he says. Win or lose, campaign T-shirts generally don’t appreciate in value because collectors are more interested in pins and buttons, says Don Ackerman, a memorabilia expert at Heritage Auctions. Unsold clothes are typically recycled for the fiber or sold for cheap overseas. By Christmas, many Latin Americans may be sporting Romney gear, says Alan Garada, president of World Trade, a merchandise recycler and reseller that four years ago sold overseas about 150,000 unused McCain-Palin T-shirts donated by the campaign. “If you really want to sell a T-shirt, try Paul Ryan,” says Madco’s Levine. “You’ll get money out of that one.”