HOUSTON -- William L. "Larry" Bird, a curator for the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, was thrilled with his find.
"This," he said, "is a high-class collectible" as he held a set of hand-painted wooden Russian dolls.
It's such discoveries that enliven Mr. Bird's sometimes daunting job here at the Republican National Convention: assembling campaign memorabilia. He is ecstatic with his haul in Houston -- compared with the pickings in New York, where the Democrats held their convention last month. "This is the party of the entrepreneur -- and that's reflected in a material way," he said.