Saturday, January 28, 2017

Donald Trump Draws for the Mask Project

At Hospice of Metro Denver's Mask Project in 2006, a series of twenty-five masks decorated by celebrities was sold at auction to benefit the charity. Donald Trump's donation was a mask on which he made a drawing of the New York skyline. His mask sold for $4,700 in 2006, a significant proportion of the $26,125 total, but the same mask went for only $1,802.77 when it was resold this month on eBay. Over the intervening decade, Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency of the United States. Legions of collectors seek out Presidential signatures and memorabilia. A signed drawing on a ceramic mask, mounted and framed with a signed photo, is an absolutely unique memento sure to be desired by many. Why on earth should such an artifact lose value when its creator is elected to the highest office in the land?

To begin with, auction prices aren't an exact science. The same collectible wouldn't be expected to fetch the exact same price at any two different times. Some random variation in price could be at work here, but there may be other factors too.

The two auction venues are very different ones. A charity auction in which wealthy participants are brought in from Las Vegas is the kind of event where bidders actually want to overpay to support the charity publicly and, yes, to appear magnanimous. On eBay, bidders are anonymous and are generally looking to pay as little as they need to in order to win the item. That is why, in this week-long auction, seven of the thirty-five bids were placed in the final thirty seconds of the auction.

Donald Trump himself is a divisive figure in American politics. His working-class supporters may not necessarily be able to bid thousands of dollars for an artistic work such as this even though they might appreciate it. His detractors, on the other hand, might be averse to bidding on such an item even if it is a good deal.

Finally, time may have been unkind to this piece. The colors over the central part of the face have faded considerably, it seems.

Donald Trump, The Mask Project, 2006

eBay Listing Ended January 19, 2017

eBay Item Description

eBay Bid History
Thirty-five bids, seven of them in the final thirty seconds

Note:  Drawings by Donald Trump are fair game on the blog now. It you've got something to share, please send a scan or photo along with the story behind it. Presidential historians will thank you and I will thank you.

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