The Business Of Selling Barack Obama

Commemorative piggy banks, medallions and other inauguration memorabilia can be yours!
Commemorative piggy banks, medallions and other inauguration memorabilia can be yours!

His image is on everything, and his name is inscribed in everything from hats to fine china to music.

Never mind the recession. The business of Obama is booming, CBS News business correspondent Anthony Mason reports.

"We even sell an Obama dollar bill now that has his picture on it for $10. So even his money's more valuable," said Jim Warlick, owner of the Washington, D.C., store Political Americana.

By some estimates, the Obama industry is worth at least a quarter of a billion dollars.

QVC expects 200,000 customers will have purchased Obama items by the end of Inauguration Day.

"This is our button room where we've produced 10 million buttons over the past two years," said Steve Swallow, CEO of Tiger Eye Design.

In Greensville, Ohio, Tiger Eye Design makes more than 1,000 different Obama buttons.

"This is the largest effect that any candidate has ever had," Swallow said.

The button room there operates around the clock, seven days a week. Two years ago, Tiger Eye was a $2 million a year company. Today, in the era of Mr. Obama, they do more than 10 times that in business.

"We've gone from 20 full time employees to over 60," Swallow said.

In New York, Jason Feinberg, a former school teacher, was loading up 15,000 Obama action figures to take to the inauguration.

He's already sold 150,000.

"I've made over a million dollars," he said.

When Marvel Comics released a Spiderman-Obama comic last week, "the line stretched down the street at a New York comic store. The 'Spidey Meets the President' issue sold out in hours," according to Patrick Andrade of the "New York Times."

To memorabilia dealers, the president-elect is better than a superhero - he's a one-man economic stimulus package.

  • Anthony Mason
    Anthony Mason

    CBS News senior business and economics correspondent; Co-host, "CBS This Morning: Saturday"