Jimmy Carter Affidavit from the 1976 Presidential Campaign
Appraised Value: $4,000 - $5,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:48)
Collectibles, Sports Memorabilia
GUEST: In 1976, I was the attorney for the Democratic Party of Maine, and, as a result, I became the attorney for the Carter presidential campaign in Maine. Partway through the campaign, we found out that the state of Maine was not going to allow Jimmy Carter to go on the ballot as Jimmy Carter, but would insist that he be James Earl Carter. We contacted the Carter campaign to see if this was important or not. They said it was not only important, but that Mr. Carter absolutely refused to go on the ballot as anything other than Jimmy Carter, and we were instructed to go to court and see if we could get an order that would forbid the state of Maine from insisting that he be James Earl Carter. In the affidavit, he details the reasons why he feels he should be on the ballot as Jimmy Carter.
APPRAISER: And what would be the comparison if he was to go on as James Earl Carter?
GUEST: Well, the unfortunate thing was that this campaign took place not too many years after Martin Luther King was assassinated by a man whose name happened to be James Earl Ray. A lot of people made that connection when they heard the name James Earl anything. Beside that, Mr. Carter was convinced that there would be confusion as to who it was that was really on the ballot.
APPRAISER: Now, how did you obtain the original affidavit?
GUEST: I don't wonder that you ask. This was an exhibit that was entered into evidence in the hearing that we had. When the hearing concluded, I simply asked the judge if I could have his permission to substitute a copy for the original. No problem. It's done all the time in lawsuits. And so, as a result, I have the original. It's hung on the wall of my office for a while, and it's just been a family keepsake.
APPRAISER: Well, it's really an important piece of history. Value-wise, Jimmy Carter's signature really goes for about $100.
APPRAISER: But you take an affidavit like this, that could have changed the whole
presidential race... my feeling is that, in an auction atmosphere, a document like this could go for $4,000 to $5,000-plus.
GUEST: That's interesting. I've never been terribly concerned about the financial worth of it, because it's just so interesting and a part of my history, as well as the country's.
APPRAISER: Thanks for bringing this in, Bruce.
GUEST: Thank you.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.