August 16th, 2011
03:33 PM ET
By CNN National Desk Editor Kevin Conlon
A handwritten letter from President Obama will be sold at an auction in California Tuesday. It’s expected to fetch up to $12,000 according to Nate Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles. But it is not the first time this particular piece of presidential history has been bought or sold.
Obama’s letter, written in black ink on White House stationary, reads: “Tim – Thanks for your letter. I share your sentiments, and we are moving as quick as we can to restore some common sense to the financial system. Barack Obama".
CNN tracked down the ‘Tim’ Obama wrote to find out the history behind the correspondence.
Tim Mullin, then a window and door salesman in Lynchburg, VA, says he wrote the President that he was concerned about the economy and the financial crisis, and was ‘in a state of shock’ when he got the personal response.
That was in 2009.
If things have soured on the economic front for the president since that exchange, it has been worse on Mr. Mullin. In fact he says, the last two and a half years “have been hell.”
A month after receiving Obama’s letter, Mullin lost his sales job. Not long after that, his health insurance.
Unemployed and back in his hometown in the Fort Lauderdale area, Mullin, 58, was then diagnosed with melanoma. Unable to afford the surgery, he looked at the one thing he owned that might be of value: a hand written letter from a U.S. President.
Mullin sold his rare piece of presidential memorabilia to a collector in New York, earning almost enough to pay for the removal of the cancerous tumor from his nose, but for far less than what Nate Sanders expects to sell it for today.
When asked to assess the president’s words about the economy in 2009 in comparison to today, Mullin, who says he does not identify with either party, and who is also nearing the end of his unemployment insurance benefits, says “we are worse off now than when I wrote the letter. Hell, I wish he’d write me another one.”