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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/21/2020

To some observers the emergence of President Donald Trump on the national scene in 2015, and his election to the highest office in the land, was completely unexpected. But to others, who had been keeping an eye on the real estate developer, reality television star, and casino operator since the mid-1980s, Trump’s interest in the presidency was always visible. According to legend, he displayed personal letters he had received from President Ronald Reagan and others who encouraged him to run for the office, and there is videotape evidence on numerous news and interview programs where Trump expressed his interest in being president “someday”. A pre-cursor of his future is on display in this item, which is a personal check to noted American cartoonist R. O. Blechman from Donald J. Trump, dated November 5, 1999, for an illustration of the White House. The 45th President of the United States has signed his name in bold black marker on the check, which is for $1, and inscribed a notation on the receipt, “Thanks! You are Great!”, also in black marker.  Also included is the 1999 New York Times page showing the illustration.

Blechman is an animator, illustrator, children’s book author, graphic novelist and editorial cartoonist whose work has been the subject of retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art and other institutions. Blechman's best-known works include the book “The Juggler of Our Lady” (1953), television commercials for Alka-Seltzer (1967) and other products, the animated  PBS special “Great Performances: The Soldier’s Tale”; a minute-long CBS Christmas greeting (1966); and numerous covers for The New Yorker magazine. One imagines the cartoon that Trump purchased had some specific meaning for him, and his interest in the American presidency. At the time of the check, Trump was still a big New York City presence in real estate and other businesses but had signaled his interest in running for president. A summer 1999 poll of Reform Party members (who had been supporting Ross Perot in 1992) indicated that Trump would tie for third among the party’s potential candidates. “If the Reform Party nominated me, I would probably run and probably win,” Trump said. And if they did, he joked, “I would ask for an immediate recount.”

Two weeks later, the National Enquirer published a similar “poll shocker”: “The 2000 presidential election is neck and neck,” the piece, placed prominently on the front page of the magazine, announced. “But sorry, Al Gore, the real battle is between George W. Bush and Donald Trump!” Thirty-nine percent of those polled said they’d vote for Bush — but 37 percent said they’d vote for Trump, “who hasn’t bothered to campaign at all.” “I am so sick of politicians and Washington,” said Carol Sue Chamberlain, age 65. “Trump makes things happen and he is at home with the guy on the street. He’s the only one I have faith in!” No matter that the Enquirer poll surveyed just 100 Americans and lacked any scientific methodology — it was enough to make Trump take the idea of a run for the presidency seriously. “Those are the real people,” Trump told the New York Times. “That is the Trump constituency,” his adviser, Roger Stone, added. In 1999, Trump never officially declared a presidential run. But he did lay out the roadmap to his 2015 campaign, for anyone with the eyes (and newspaper archive access) to see. This item has been authenticated and encapsulated by Beckett Authentication (00011977420) and the signature has been graded MINT 10.

1999 Donald Trump Signed &  Inscribed Personal Check For Purchase of White House Illustration (Beckett GEM MT 10)
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $7,995.00
Number Bids: 17
Auction closed on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.
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