Trump Is Selling Pieces of His Mug Shot Suit

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Mr. Mercuri said the idea for selling the suit swatches came from NFT INT and was inspired by the way sports figures sell pieces of their jerseys to fans. Mr. Trump was “aware of the trend and receptive” to the proposal, he said, and “generously gave the suit to NFT INT. He felt that members of the public would want to have a piece of history.”

The suit was then authenticated by MEARS, a company that specializes in validating sports memorabilia. Troy R. Kinunen, the chief executive of the company, said that “the team at CollectTrumpCards provided the suit directly from the President” and that MEARS then verified certain design elements of the garment against photos and video, including pocket placement, buttons, and the collar of the suit jacket, which Mr. Trump had sewn down in the back to keep it in place. (Though given the number of blue suits Mr. Trump appears to own, it is hard to know how anyone could tell them apart.)

Selling the mug shot suit tracks, to a certain extent, with other examples of fan culture. Paige Rubin, an assistant vice president and the head of sale for handbags at Christie’s, said there was an almost insatiable public appetite for souvenirs of the famous and infamous, and often the most valuable pieces of memorabilia at auction are determined by provenance: “Does the object you are selling resonate with the fan base? Does it connect to an iconic moment in a career?”

Similarly, there is a long tradition of auctioning memorabilia from public figures, including many presidents, as Summer Anne Lee, a historian of presidential dress at the Fashion Institute of Technology, noted. Scraps of Abraham Lincoln’s bloodstained bedsheets regularly come up for auction, and a pair of Richard Nixon’s eyeglasses from around the time of his resignation were sold in 2005 for $1,955. In 2019, a pair of underpants believed to have belonged to Eva Braun, Hitler’s wife, were gaveled at almost $5,000.

However, despite the fact that Melania Trump likewise sold one of her most notable White House outfits — the white hat she wore during the French state visit in 2018 — as part of her own NFT drop, and despite Mr. Trump’s own history of monetizing his own brand in a way other political candidates might not dare, it is almost unheard-of for a living president to hawk his own memorabilia for his own profits, Ms. Lee said. Though NFT INT is not related to the Trump organization and Mr. Trump is not a part of the company, as a licenser Mr. Trump would probably receive a percentage of sales.

Which makes it in his interest to divide the suit into as many pieces as possible — both financially and, even more pointedly, conceptually.

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