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Published August 15, 2022 Updated August 15, 2022

Grand Slam

Limited edition gift set issued to mark the American Bicentennial, 1776-1976, produced by John Waddington Ltd and the Bristol Pottery for the British American Bicentenary Group, 1970.

1970 United Kingdom USA Waddingtons Gino d’Achille Commemorative Add to Collection

This special set commemorates what is sometimes called America’s first Christmas present – when, on Christmas night 1776, General George Washington crossed the icy Delaware with 2,398 freezing men and destroyed Britain’s Hessian garrison at Trenton, New Jersey. The illustration on this presentation box shows the ill-prepared Hessian Commander, Colonel Johann Gottlieb Rall, in the battle which cost him his life. See the box

The court cards of each pack show full-length historical figures in 18th century costume with vignette backgrounds sketched in sepia. Each person is named below, together with a quotation by or about them. One pack represents Americans, the other British. Italian artist Gino d’Achille was commissioned to produce the portraits.

Above: 2 x 52 cards + 2 Jokers + 4 ashtrays and certificate in presentation box. Card size: 63 x 90 mm. According to John Berry, the Jokers show an 18th century actor (probably James Quin [1693-1766]) in costume as Falstaff holding masks of tragedy and comedy. The backs show Washington’s crest in gold on blue, and the British coat of arms in gold on red. The set was issued in a limited, numbered edition of 2,398 – one for every man who crossed the Delaware with Washington at Christmas 1776. See the certificate

Beneath the two packs in the presentation box is a set of four ashtrays illustrated with the first four American Presidents. These were produced by the Bristol Pottery, founded in 1652.

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By Roddy Somerville

Member since May 31, 2022

Roddy started collecting stamps on his 8th birthday. In 1977 he joined the newly formed playing-card department at Stanley Gibbons in London before setting up his own business in Edinburgh four years later. His collecting interests include playing cards, postcards, stamps (especially playing cards on stamps) and sugar wrappers. He is a Past President of the Scottish Philatelic Society, a former Chairman of the IPCS, a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and Curator of the WCMPC’s collection of playing cards. He lives near Toulouse in France.


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