(WYTV) – We all exchange gifts from time to time, and countries do, too.

Some diplomat brings something here, and we take something there: gifts of state.

It’s always been this way, Egyptian pharaohs gave engraved stone jars; the Vikings and the Visigoths exchanged livestock.

Then in 1785, French King Louis the 16th gave the American minister to France, Benjamin Franklin, a snuffbox encrusted with diamonds, and King Charles the 3rd of Spain gave the secretary of foreign affairs, John Jay, a horse.

Both men accepted, but from then on, American heads of state were supposed to reveal all their gifts and all but the most inexpensive were sent to the National Archives.

Presidents could keep gifts worth less than $335.

But in practice, this rule really wasn’t followed until after Richard Nixon left the White House.

For example, First Lady Jackie Kennedy got many gifts of jewelry that she kept.

Congress keeps tabs on what gifts we give, but the State Department hands them out from the gift vault. They are already wrapped in metallic gold paper and kept on metal shelves.

Some might be jewels if a princess visits. One package that is ready to go contains basketball shoes autographed by Shaquille O’Neal, and another is a baseball bat with Derek Jeter’s signature on it.

The Chief of Protocol’s Gift Office decides who gets what.