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Published November 09, 2022 Updated November 09, 2022

Grover Cleveland Presidential Campaign of 1888

Grover Cleveland Presidential Campaign playing cards of 1888, USA, [reprint 1980].

1888 USA Commemorative Facsimiles & Replicas Political Add to Collection

This is a reproduction of a pack originally issued in 1888 in support of Grover Cleveland who was already serving as the 22nd President of the United States (1885-1889), and was part of his campaign to be re-elected. Although he was unsuccessful, he did return to office in 1892 as the 24th President (1893-1897). The reproduction was produced by U.S. Games Systems Inc., New York in 1980. (There is some speculation that this pack was not originally produced for Cleveland's 1888 campaign but rather for his later campaign in 1892).

Cleveland is portrayed on the Kings; his running mate Allen G. Thurman on the Jacks; and Frances Folsom on the Queen. She married Cleveland at the age of 21, was the youngest First Lady, and also the only First lady to have served the role during two non-consecutive terms. Cleveland is the only President to have been married in the White House.

Original cards, 1888

1888 Grover Cleveland Presidential Campaign Playing Cards

Above: original specimen of 1888 Grover Cleveland Presidential Campaign Playing Cards, Potter & Potter auction March 2019 Lot 344. Original cards can also be viewed on the National Museum of American History website here

Reproduction, 1980

facsimile of 1888 Grover Cleveland Presidential Campaign Playing Cards

Above: reproduction of 1888 Grover Cleveland Presidential Campaign Playing Cards produced by U.S. Games Systems Inc., New York in 1980. See the box


The White House: Grover Cleveland

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By Peter Burnett

Member since July 27, 2022

I graduated in Russian and East European Studies from Birmingham University in 1969. It was as an undergraduate in Moscow in 1968 that I stumbled upon my first 3 packs of “unusual” playing cards which fired my curiosity and thence my life-long interest. I began researching and collecting cards in the early 1970s, since when I’ve acquired over 3,330 packs of non-standard cards, mainly from North America, UK and Western Europe, and of course from Russia and the former communist countries.

Russian Playing Cards

Following my retirement from the Bodleian Library in Dec. 2007 I took up a new role as Head of Library Development at the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) to support library development in low-income countries. This work necessitated regular training visits to many sub-Saharan African countries and also further afield, to Vietnam, Nepal and Bangladesh – all of which provided rich opportunities to further expand my playing card collection.

Since 2019 I’ve been working part-time in the Bodleian Library where I’ve been cataloguing the bequest of the late Donald Welsh, founder of the English Playing Card Society.


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