This political memorabilia Vancouver collector has over 1,000 pieces


This election season, you’ll see plenty of commercials and lawn signs supporting the politicians running for office.

But perhaps, not enough buttons.

“I mean, nobody wants to wear buttons on their coat anymore,” said Joseph Planta, whose home studio is lined with cork boards covered in hundreds of political buttons and pins.

For the past 16 years, Planta has been interviewing artists and authors and, most importantly, politicians for his podcast The Commentary from his home in Vancouver.

His studio that filled with books and magazines — and one of the bigger collections of political memorabilia outside of a museum.

While he’s collected busts of presidents, as well as their memoirs, it’s his collection of political buttons and pins that is most impressive at nearly 1,000.

“I’ve always been interested in history, and American history especially,” Planta said. It was natural for him to start collecting memorabilia. 

Politics enthusiast Joseph Planta says political buttons are a dying art. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

“I started collecting Nixon buttons about five or six years ago, and then in earnest a lot of Canadian stuff because I realized that people were getting rid of a lot of the B.C. and … federal Canadian stuff.”

Since political buttons are becoming less and less common, Planta decided to buy collectables on eBay. He says that American political memorabilia really picked up in the 1950s and 60s … but didn’t really get going in Canada until Pierre Trudeau’s 1968 leadership campaign.

Joseph Planta started collecting federal Canadian buttons because he noticed people getting rid of it. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Planta creates themed bulletin boards for leaders and their campaigns and adds to them quite frequently. There are the Trudeaus, Nixon, Clark … you name it. 

“I feel there’s a sense of urgency because I don’t think there are other people who collect like me,” said Planta.

The politics fan says he knows other collectors in Vancouver that focus on the same memorabilia as he does, but he still considered the buttons and the collecting a dying art.  

“So it’s urgent in that sense and I guess I’m just keeping it here for now until somebody else … an institution wants this stuff.”

Just a small portion of Planta’s Trudeau button collection. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)