Q: I have a Lester Maddox clock that must have been made when Maddox was running for governor of Georgia. It pictures Maddox riding a bicycle backwards and the hands of the clock are an ax handle and a chicken leg. It was signed by the governor. Is there any value to this political item?
A: For almost 20 years, Lester Maddox (1915-2003) ran a restaurant in Atlanta called the Pickrick. It was known for its fried chicken. A pick ax handle was part of the decor, a play on the name of the restaurant, but a 1964 photograph shows Maddox brandishing the ax handle to keep black Americans from entering the restaurant. He closed the restaurant in 1965 rather than open it to all. Maddox was governor of Georgia from 1967 to 1971. At that time, the governor was not allowed to serve two consecutive terms, so he ran for lieutenant governor in 1971. He won and served under Jimmy Carter from 1971 to 1975. Maddox ran against Carter in the 1976 presidential campaign as the American Independent Party candidate. In the early 1970s, he and his wife opened a souvenir shop in Underground Atlanta, an underground shopping center in downtown Atlanta. Clocks, buttons, ax handles, recordings of his speeches, T-shirts, watches, and other political items were sold in the shop. The faces of Maddox's "Wake Up America" clocks include his signature, but it's a facsimile, not a real autograph. He personally signed some of the clocks on the outside of the case and box. Those clocks sell for about $25 to $65.