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Antioch's Pickard China creating Obama pieces
By Vincent Pierri | Daily Herald Staff

Pickard China in Antioch has produced several limited-edition pieces for the inauguration of President-elect Obama. These are a few styles available.

 

Photo Courtesy of Pickard China

Pickard employee Ella Piatek applies the official seal on one of the limited-edition plates.

 

Vincent Pierri | Staff Photographer

Pickard China in Antioch has produced several limited edition pieces for the inauguration of President-elect Obama. Company President Andrew Pickard Morgan says the pieces are "flying off the shelves."

 

Vincent Pierri | Staff Photographer

Each piece includes the official inaugural seal.

 

Vincent Pierri | Staff Photographer

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Published: 1/19/2009 10:32 AM

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Whether it's campaign buttons, posters, historic front pages of newspapers or bobblehead dolls, it seems anything with an image of President-elect Barack Obama is a hot collectible.

E-bay power-sellers are saying "Yes we can," when it comes to making some dough off our new president.

But maybe you're looking for something with a little more class, more presidential, if you will. A local manufacturer of fine china with a historic link to the White House has rolled out a line of limited-edition Obama inaugural plates and gifts.

The Antioch-based Pickard China company has been busy designing and producing pieces since election day.

"These items are flying off our shelves," said company President Andrew Pickard Morgan. "There's a big demand for any Obama-related pieces."

Pickard is selling bowls, cake plates, desk trays, mint dishes and small ornaments. Some pieces are trimmed with 24k gold paint; all feature the official inaugural seal as the centerpiece.

The company's connection to Washington, D.C. goes back to World War II when it produced gravy boats as part of the war effort for the U.S. Navy. Originally a Chicago company, Pickard China started in 1893. It moved to Antioch in 1930.

In 1977, Pickard was chosen by the U.S. State Department to provide the official china service used at all U.S. embassies. Pickard also produces custom china for Air Force One, Camp David and Blair House. That's not to mention two of its other customers - the Queen of England and the King of Saudi Arabia.

Just this month, outgoing first lady Laura Bush chose Pickard to produce the china to be used at private White House dinners. The magnolia-patterned set designed by Anna Weatherly was inspired by trees around the White House. The $74,000 set was not purchased with taxpayer money, Morgan said.

Many of Pickard's pieces are on sale in the upscale shops around the Capitol. Morgan says his china is often the choice for "protocol gifts" between government dignitaries.

"We supply the United States House of Representatives Gift Shop and the United States Congressional Historical Society with inaugural giftware. Political dignitaries use our pieces in their gift exchanges," he said.

Pickard has bids out to supply china to any one of the more than 12 official balls planned.

"This is always last-minute decision-making for these people," Morgan said. "But that's OK with us."