The Most Bizarre Gifts Ever Given to U.S. Presidents
Think the royal family has been given the world’s most bizarre gifts? Think again. Since George Washington, U.S. Presidents has accepted some of the wackiest gifts of all time.
From tacky portraits to edible wonders, we share the strangest presidential gifts of all time, here.
1. A custom rug featuring Bill and Hillary Clinton’s faces
While having a portrait taken isn’t a strange occurrence. Having said portrait woven into an Azerbaijani rug is a bit strange. Carpet portrait artist Heydar Aliyev once gifted President Bill Clinton a custom rug that featured a heart-shaped medallion and the former president and first lady’s faces inside.
Next: One of the heaviest (and smelliest) gifts ever.
2. A 1,235 pound block of cheese
In celebration of Thomas Jefferson’s election, the Republican Baptists of Cheshire, Massachusetts, gifted the former president with a 1,235 pound block of mammoth cheese. Presented to Jefferson in 1802, the giant cheese featured an inscription that red “rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”
In a bizarre twist, the president ended up paying for the cheese. Jefferson had a strict policy against free gifts, so he offered $200 for the elaborate gift.
Next: According to this gift, Obama’s life is worth $50,000.
3. Crocodile insurance
While on a trip down under, Barack Obama was presented with the practical gift of crocodile insurance. According to the insurance plan, should a gator attack Obama, the insurance policy would provide $50,000 for damages.
Next: American citizens benefited the most from this gift.
4. A national holiday
In honor of the United States’ first president, Congress dubbed George Washington’s birthday a national holiday in 1880. Originally celebrated on a fixed day — Feb. 22 — it was changed to the third Monday in February to accommodate the Uniform Monday Holidays Act in 1968.
Next: A gift that could have killed George H.W. Bush.
5. A pet dragon
While it’s not uncommon for a president to be gifted a live animal, it’s not every day that they’re given one of the most deadly creatures in the world. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush was presented with a Komodo dragon by the president of Indonesia.
The flesh-eating lizard was donated to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden where it lived until its death in 2007.
Next: You won’t find this gift at your local grocery store.
6. A lemon carved in the shape of a pig
What do you get a president whose wife banned alcoholic beverages at state functions? A lemon carved in the shape of a pig. The strange presidential gift was given to President Rutherford Hayes and may or may not have been inspired by his wife’s nickname, “lemonade Lucy.”
Next: This gift is older than mankind.
7. A dinosaur footprint
Since most presidential gifts end up in a museum, it’s only fitting that someone would gift a president with a piece of history. That said, the dinosaur footprint presented to President Nixon was pretty strange.
Next: The most intricate (and bizarre) gift ever given.
8. A carved peach pit
Another strange fruit gift given to a president? The carved peach pit given to President Kennedy. Presented to JFK by R.J. McErlean, the pit features a portrait of the former president in a veterans hat with “President John F. Kennedy” engraved above his head.
In addition to the portrait and title, the carving also features an intricate eagle on a shield, as well as a carving of St. Christopher.
Next: It’s a good thing George W. Bush isn’t vegan.
9. 300 pounds of raw lamb meat
Edible gifts may be some of the most common gifts given to a president, but nothing quite compares to the 300 pounds of raw lamb meat President George W. Bush received while in office. The meat was presented by the president of Argentina in 2003 and was re-gifted to the General Services Administration.
Next: A gift that saved Obama from laundry day.
10. 50 pairs of underwear
In 2012, President Barack Obama was presented with 50 pairs of H&M boxer-briefs by the fashion company’s most famous underwear model, David Beckham.
Next: You need a magnifying glass to see this gift.
11. Portraits of President Nixon on grains of rice
We’re not sure what’s more strange, the fact that so many presidents have received carved food as gifts or that someone took the time to carve portraits of President Richard Nixon on two separate grains of rice. Created by Nabi Ahmed Rizvi, the impressive gift came arrived in a blue velvet box and was accompanied with a magnifying glass, for obvious reasons.
Next: The perfect white elephant gift.
12. A metamorphic portrait of Jimmy Carter
There’s nothing we love more than tacky home decor. And, this metamorphic portrait of Jimmy Carter takes the cake. If we were him, we would have switched our official portrait out for this one.
Next: A gift worthy of a county fair ribbon.
13. An 80-pound watermelon
While in office, William McKinley received a large, 3-foot-long, 80 pound watermelon from Georgia Congressman, Leonidas F. Livingston.
Next: This gift terrorized White House staff members.
Theodore Roosevelt was once gifted a coyote and apparently allowed it to roam around the White House grounds, leaving staff members terrified of the wild dog.
Next: This is what happens when someone finds out Jelly Beans are your favorite candy.
15. A portrait made out of 10,000 jelly beans
Think you’ve seen it all? Not quite. As a die-hard jelly beans fan, Ronald Reagan graciously accepted a portrait of himself created by artist Peter Rocha. Made from 10,000 Jelly Belly jelly beans, the edible portrait used mosaic techniques to portray an image of the former president. It now lives at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
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