2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Formerly Owned by President Barack Obama

Sold For: $26,438

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1594

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2000 Black Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited formerly owned by Barack Obama, forty-fourth President of the United States. Prior to ascending to the nation’s highest office, Barack Obama served his political apprenticeship in Illinois, first as a state senator in Illinois’ 13th District (1997-2004) and then as a United States Senator (2005-2008). It was during his time as a state senator, on August 8, 2000, that he purchased this brand-new 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee. While he may have had loftier political ambitions at the time, most of his days were spent as any normal working husband with a wife (Michelle) and one young daughter (Malia Ann). Therefore, it can be assumed that this car was used in the manner of most family vehicles: to and from work, trips to the store, vacations, etc. Obama’s second daughter, Natasha, was born in 2001, thereby becoming the fourth and final Obama family member numbered among the car’s former passengers. In 2004, after putting 84,210 miles on the car, Obama sold the vehicle, as a trade in, to Park Plaza Dodge of Forest Park, Illinois. This is one of the most significant, albeit unconventional, historical items we have ever offered. Fortunately, due to the formal documentation regarding automobiles in this country, it is accompanied by ironclad provenance: a notarized photocopy of the original Illinois Certificate of Title document that both lists Barack Obama as the original owner and records the transfer of ownership to our consignor in 2004. The story of exactly how the car has happened to come into the possession of our consignor to be offered in this auction follows: In September 2004, our consignor, who lives in a suburb of Chicago, was in the market for a used car, specifically an SUV. A friend introduced her to the owner of a used- car dealership who told her that his company had just purchased a car that would be perfect for her. He told her to come over and take a look at it. She did, liked what she saw, and agreed to purchase it. When she returned with a check a few days later, the gentleman said to her “take a look at whose name is on the title, this car might be special one day.” When she looked at the title she saw the name Barack Obama as the former owner. She also noted that Obama sold the car to Park Plaza Dodge of Forest Park, Illinois (as a trade in) on July 13, 2004. While Barack Obama’s name was certainly recognizable to our consignor (he was then an Illinois state senator and the 2004 Democratic nominee for Illinois United States Senator), he was largely unknown outside of Illinois. That would soon change. On July 27, 2004, exactly two weeks after he sold this car, Obama exploded upon the national political scene when he delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts. The speech was seen by over nine million people and instantly made him one of the stars of the Democratic Party. Our consignor took title of this car on September 2, 2004. At the time, the gentleman who sold her the car gave her some extremely sage and prescient advice when he suggested she get a copy of the former title, which properly documented Obama’s ownership of the vehicle and her purchase of it for the benefit of any future buyers, before she turned it in to the Motor Vehicle Department (in order to get a new title of certificate so that she could register the car in her name). He told her, “You never know, he could be President some day.” She followed his advice, also choosing to get it notarized at the time, and a copy of that original title (recording all of the pertinent and corroborating information) accompanies the vehicle. It should be noted that the Obama signature on the photocopy of the original title, which appears on the line designated “Seller” is not his, but that of a representative of the car dealership to whom he gave power of attorney (standard practice for trade in vehicles). His name and address “Barack Obama/5450 S. East View Park/Chicago, IL 60615” are duly noted on the original title, as is the date of original purchase “8/26/00.” While our consignor was always aware of the car’s history, and it made for interesting conversation at parties, it was not until several years later when Obama began his run for the Democratic Presidential nomination that the potential significance of the car finally hit home, and she was inundated with media requests, both from newspapers and radio stations. The Chicago Tribune ran a story about the car, as did many local papers, and she appeared on a number of radio interviews. Since its purchase, this car has served as our consignor’s everyday vehicle and continues to be used in that manner. The car has over 130,000 miles registered on the odometer and is probably very close to the end of its life as a reliable vehicle. It should be noted that this car is being sold as a political collectible. While it does run, no guarantees or warranties are made with regard to performance, and anyone purchasing this vehicle does so with the understanding that despite its continuing everyday use, repairs may be required. REA hired a local certified mechanic to VISUALLY inspect the car in November and a summary of that inspection is available upon request; however, the car may have experienced other problems since that report was written (as it has been used as the everyday vehicle by our consignor, who is probably driving around at this very moment as you read this). The car is currently located in the Chicago area and will be shipped to the winning bidder by a professional car transport company of Robert Edward Auctions’ choosing. Transportation costs to the desired point of destination will be the responsibility of the winning bidder. The consignor is selling the car simply because it is time for her to get a new car, and has agreed to start the bidding at the Kelley Blue Book value for a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee in similar condition and with similar mileage, representing the wholesale trade-in value of the vehicle with no premium for its unique historical significance. Reserve $3,500. Estimate (open). The consignor's auction proceeds for the car will go to the consignor, and hopefully make a significant contribution toward the purchase of her next vehicle. However, the entire sellers fee (representing 10% of the hammer price) and the entire 17.5% buyers premium for this lot will be donated to CARE, and the check for this portion of the total purchase price will be made payable by the winner directly to CARE. CARE is a leading humanitarian organization devoted to fighting global poverty and saving lives in the poorest communities in the world. CARE helps whole families and entire communities escape poverty. We have designated CARE as the charity of choice for this lot because of the great importance of its work and because we know this organization is one of President Barack Obama's favorite charities. To learn more about CARE, please visit www.care.org. SOLD FOR $26,438

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