Obama gift list valued at $240,000 in 2011, from books to priceless art


U.S. President Barack Obama shows off a championship ring which he received as a gift from the Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird, coach Brian Agler and Swin Cash on June 29, 2011 at the White House in Washington.


Alex Wong

What, nothing for Bo?

Leaders from across the globe bestowed every manner of trinket possible on the first family (except the first dog) in 2011, from a book that sells on Amazon for $23.95 to a sculpture valued at $52,695.

President Barack Obama received the most, accepting more than $194,000 worth of goods, while gifts for both the president and Michelle totaled $21,000.

The first lady also received more than $22,000 worth of presents on her own while Sasha and Malia brought in just over $6K, according to USA Today’s tabulation.

Of course, they can’t actually keep any of the swag.

To keep up appearances, the White House turns all of it over to the National Archives so it doesn’t appear he’s accepting bribes.

The State Department released the entire list online, with the explanation that “Non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. Government.”

Among the more intriguing items:

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (the biggest spender on the list) gave Obama an Hermes golf bag worth $7,750 and Baccarat crystal statuettes of golfers. In all, the Sarkozys gave the Obamas $41,675.71 in gifts that year alone, Agence France-Presse reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also tapped into the golf theme, giving Obama a putter and training material. Guess she’s sending him a message.

As a Canadian, this reporter is embarrassed to say Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave POTUS a basketball signed by the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.

How much did that cost, Steve? And the Raptors were 22-60 in 2010-11. Who would want anything signed by that group? (The Federal Register valued Harper’s gifts, which included historic maps of North America, at $1,880.)

Other gifts to Obama were more formal, including a 48-inch bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln by the artist Yuan Xikun given by former Chinese President Hu Jintao, valued at $9,800.

The most expensive item on the list is the aforementioned art from the president of the Gabonese Republic, Ali Bongo Ondimba. It is a 14-inch blue mask sculpture by Daum on a 10-inch black and silver stand.

As for the least expensive, the book came from President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj of Mongolia and is called “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World,” by Jack Weatherford.

It is also the only item Obama actually kept.