Just for J.Anderson, some Grover Cleveland Campaign Pieces

Recently J.Anderson said the Grover Cleveland was a president he liked. I admire too. Here are few campaign pieces from his three runs for the presidency in 1884, 1888 and 1892.

This 1892 medalet featured Cleveland’s most famous quote, “A public office is a public trust.”

This one from 1884 emphasized “reform.” This was during Mark Twain’s "gilded age” when many politicians viewed the public treasury as their private stash. Come to think of it, have things really changed?

And here are two pins for the “personal touch.”

Mrs. Grover Cleveland

And the president. These pieces were from the 1888 campaign.

I have many more pieces, but this is a start.

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Incredible collection you have there. Thanks for sharing.

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Send, how do you find these for purchase? How common are they? Do you find them in small-town pawn shops, Amazon, eBay, big city shops? What kind of value do they carry? Does it vary widely, expensive or inexpensive?

Also, what is it the two of you admire about Cleveland? I can’t say I know much about him.

You would like him RWNJ. Probably the only president in U.S. history who not only talked about small government, but stuck to that principle in office rather than succumbing to the temptation to increase one’s own power by embracing expansion of government. Hardcore free trader. Stubbornly bucked his own party time and again over subsidies and bailouts to industry and other crony capitalisms.

I think he has a record for the number of vetos (per term or something). Pretty adamant that the Government not do much, or at least not what it was planning to do.

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I have been a coin collector for 60 years, and I was a dealer for 12 years. There are dealers who specialize in tokens and medals. They would be the most likely sources for these pieces. No one could specialize in this area, because the supply is not large and there are a limited but growing number of collectors. Dealers who belong to the American Political Items Collectors (APIC) also might have some of these pieces. Most of those dealers specialize in buttons, however, and many of them don’t know a lot about 19th century items.

When I started in 1990, you could buy the more common pieces in decent condition for $20 to $50. Today most anything that is nice is going to run you $100 or more. Believe on not the most common 19th century pieces come from William Henry Harrison’s 1840 presidential campaign. His “log cabin and hard cider” campaign issued many pieces although some of them are rare.

The most I have paid for one 19th century piece is $5,000. The most expensive pieces in the political items hobby are the 1920 Cox and Roosevelt (FDR for VP) jugate buttons. One sold a couple years ago for a bit over $47,000. I was interested, but not a bidder because I knew where it was going to go.

The toughest 19th century major party candidates to find are James K. Polk, 1840 and Lewis Cass (Democrat loser), 1848. Lincoln pieces are, on average, fairly common (His campaign had the most money in 1860 and 1864), but expensive because there are many interested collectors.

As for Grover Cleveland, I admire him because he was honest at time when many politicians were on the take, and he was a fiscal conservative. He also worked to lower tariffs to level that were “for revenue only” and not for protection to American industries, which didn’t need protecting.

I have an extensive collection of political items from Andrew Jackson in 1824 until the modern period. If you have a favorite candidate I can post photos and information. I don’t have much from 2012 and 2016, because I was PO’d with the result in 2012 and figured Hillary was going to win 2016.

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Man, that sounds like someone I could admire!

Thomas Jefferson!

Oh, wait :wink: 1824

Thanks for sharing, Send.

Which of course should be the level of tariffs always. You should never protect an industry; you just build in weakness and bad practice that way.

In this case I can give provide a couple of examples.


Here is a Thomas Jefferson inaugural medal in silver. John Reich, an indentured servant who came to this country from Germany, designed this piece and cut the dies. It was issued to celebrate Jefferson’s first inauguration on March 4, 1801. Later Jefferson used his influence to get Reich a job as an engraver at the first U.S. Mint, which was in Philadelphia.

It was inauguration almost didn’t happen. In flaw in the original processes applied for the Electoral College resulted in a tie between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. The election went to the House where the opposition Federalist Party was still in control. Some of them refused to break the logjam until Alexander Hamilton got a few of them to abstain, throwing the election to Jefferson. This may have been the start of the Burr – Hamilton feud which resulted in the duel where Hamilton was killed.

There are about ten examples of this piece known in silver and three others in a lead-like composition called white metal. I am still kicking myself for not buying this one when I had the chance. The value? About equal to a low level Cadillac ATS.

This second piece is a bit more common and a lot less expensive. It’s worth a few thousand.

This is a circa 1860 strike of the 100 mm Jefferson Indian Peace medal in bronze. This piece was made from the original reverse die as indicated from the raised line on the reverse, though the peace pipe, which is due to a die break. The original Jefferson Indian Peace medals were made of silver and were hollow. The two sides were held together with a bezel. The first Philadelphia Mint was not able to make a solid metal piece of this size in the early 1800s. The Indians did not like the fact that these pieces were hollow, and the government got its act together and made solid pieces for the Indians in subsequent years.

Lewis and Clark took a supply of these medals with them, in three sizes, to give out to the Indians during their exploration from May 1804 to September 1806. The original medals exist, and a few of them are in museums and collectors’ hands. As you might guess, they are expensive. You also have to be careful. If the government thinks that you acquired this illegally, like from an Indian or burial ground, it is subject to confiscation. That’s why I stay away from them. Plus, as the old saying goes, you can’t collect everything.

This last piece is much more common. It is a commemorative gold dollar from the 1903 St. Louis Exposition. These were sold as a fund raiser, and they are smaller than a dime. the obverse was inspired by the Jefferson Indian Peace medal.


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Why did I say I that I can provide political pieces from 1824 forward? The reason is based on how the electors were selected for the Electoral College.

In 1800 about 25% of the electors were selected by popular vote. The other 75% were selected by the state legislatures. In other words, the people had only a indirect say in who was elected president.

In 1824 the situation was reversed. About 75% of the electors were picked by popular vote and 25% were still under the control of the state legislatures. Andrew Jackson picked up on that and was the first president to take his candidacy to the people. His supporters sponsored rallies, marches, barbeques and campaign items, like the one shown below. This piece is not tremendously rare. They sell for a couple hundred bucks in decent condition.

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