The Ten Most Expensive Gifts President Obama Was Given in 2009


For the sake of transparency and ethics, probably, the State Department has released a list of all the gifts federal employees received from foreign governments in 2009. (Why did it take a whole year? We don’t know. Probably isn’t State’s biggest priority.) One federal employee who received lots of gifts was President Obama, because, obviously, he’s a good guy to have in your corner.

But if you think about it, this list has the potential to be as embarrassing as any WikiLeak. Not only does it reveal what each foreign dignitary gave Obama, but all the gifts are also given an estimated value, so all the world can see which countries are particularly generous gift givers, and which are exceptionally cheap. Here are the ten most expensive ones, a.k.a., the people who care the most. Make sure not to miss the surprise ending.

Gift: “Large desert scene on a green veined marble base featuring miniature figurines of gold palm trees and camels; large gold medallion with the Royal seal in a green leather display box; large brass and glass clock by Jaeger-LeCoultre in a green leather display case.”
From: Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Estimated Value: $34,000

Gift: “39” x 49′” wooden framed and matted fine silk embroidery depicting a portrait study of the First Family.”
From: His Excellency Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China.
Estimated Value: $20,000

Gift: “Black and gold pen with a wooden pen holder, made from the wood of the HMS Gannet in Chatham; book entitled ‘Churchill and America’ by Martin Gilbert; book entitled ‘Churchill: A Life’ by Martin Gilbert; book set entitled ‘Biography of Winston S. Churchill,’ by Martin Gilbert.
From: The Right Honorable James Gordon Brown, M.P., Prime Minister, United Kingdom.
Estimated Value: $16,510

Gift: “Book entitled ‘I Vetri di Archimede Seguso dal 1950 al 1959’; pair of blown glass candleholders and a glass fruit bowl.
From: His Excellency Silvio Berlusconi, President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic.
Estimated Value: $14,445

Gift: “Bronze statue of a girl releasing a flock of doves.”
From: His Excellency Shimon Peres, President of Israel.
Estimated Value: $8,000

Gift: “Gilt framed and matted mosaic depicting St. Peter’s Square; decorative gold coin with the inscription ‘Benedict XVI Pont Max Anno IV’ with the profile of Pope Benedict the XVI; booklet entitled ‘Instruction Dignitas Personae On Certain Bioethical Questions’; book entitled ‘Encyclical Letter Caritas in Veritate of the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI’; silver keychain.
From: His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Holy See.
Estimated Value: $7,905

Gift: “Francesco Basile gold watch.”
From: His Excellency Silvio Berlusconi, President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic.
Estimated Value: $6,400

Gift: “3′ tall handcarved ebony wooden sculpture.”
From: His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania.
Estimated Value: $6,000

Gift: “Large crystal table with an image of the American Flag.”
From: His Excellency Silvio Berlusconi, President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic.
Estimated Value: $6,000

Gift: “3′ x 3′ framed portrait of the President and First Lady by Petit-Bois Ancener; 5′ x 5′ portrait of the President by Petit Bois Ancener.”
From: His Excellency Raymond A. Joseph, Ambassador of the Republic of Haiti.
Estimated Value: $4,025

That’s right, Haiti — miserable, earthquake-ravaged, broke-as-shit Haiti — made the top ten list. Dozens upon dozens of other countries should be ashamed. That’s like the homeless guy who hangs outside of the bodega giving your girlfriend a better birthday present than you did.