Tuesday, September 3, 2013

This is my collection of 19th century presidential campaign tokens, with a few from the early 20th century. Included are election winners as well as some who lost elections. Just to be clear, I have no interest in politics - I just like the history behind these old presidential campaign tokens.

Note - many of these were manufactured with holes, and meant to be suspended (worn) on clothing. Example (not my hanger or medal):

First - the book used to get the Sullivan/DeWitt numbers associated with political/campaign tokens/medalets from 1789 - 1892. The original book was by DeWitt, and was updated/revised by Sullivan. The book is no longer in print, but nice copies can still be found in used condition.

1824 Election:

The 1824 Andrew Jackson campaign medals, of which a few different types exist, are considered by most to be the first actual presidential campaign medals produced to promote a candidate prior to an election. Prior to this the political medals commemorated inaugurations, deaths, etc.

Andrew Jackson, a military hero, former governor, and former senator, who was widely viewed as the champion of the common man. Considered the Hero of New Orleans during the War of 1812 (as stated on the reverse of the medal.

This was a strange election in many respects. The Democratic-Republican Party was really the only party in existence at the time, and had four separate candidates seeking the presidency. Later, supporters of Andrew Jackson would evolve into the Democratic Party, and the supporters led by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay would become the National Republican Party and eventually the Whig Party.

The 1824 election was the only election since the passage of the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution to have been decided by the House of Representatives when no candidate secured a majority of the electoral vote. It was also the only presidential election in which the candidate who received the most electoral votes did not become president.The election of 1824 is also the first in which the elected president did not win the popular vote. John Quincy Adams was awarded the election and became out 6th president.

This old medal below is not in the greatest condition, but was low cost and upon receipt looked much better in hand than the seller's poor pictures taken with the medal in a flip. Still a fair amount of detail remaining. It looks a bit like it may have been dug up by a medal detectorist. In any case I'm glad to have it. Based on the attributes in the Sullivan book this is an AJACK 1824-1

Another AJACK 1824-1 in better condition:

A different 1824 Jackson variety (AJACK 1824-4) in nice condition:

1828 Election:

Andrew Jackson came back and defeated John Quincy Adams.

Several political tokens were issued for the congressional elections of 1834. Many anti-Andrew Jackson tokens were produced at this time, due to his shutting down the Second Bank of the United States. Dewitt states that many of the these tokens are erroneously referred to as Hard Times Tokens, as they were politically motivated. Most of the tokens were pro-Whig Party and anti-Jackson. 

The one below is a Pro-Jackson token, and fills in a spot in my collection for Jackson in the 1828 and 1832 elections, in which Jackson was elected and re-elected as President. The token infers that Jackson was elected in 1829, but he was elected in 1828. 1829 was actually the year he was inaugurated for his second term.

1832 Election:

Henry Clay Medal. Sullivan/DeWitt # 1832-2, white metal, 39 mm

Henry Clay (National Republican Party) lost all three of his campaigns for president, in 1824, 1832 and 1844. Clay lost this 1832 election to Andrew Jackson (democrat). In 1824 he lost to John Quincy Adams and in 1844 to James Polk.

This is an extremely rare medal - one of only 2 or 3 known to exist. I was very lucky to win this one on Ebay for a very low bid. In a Heritage auction 9 years ago - one sold for $1380.00

Heritage Auction link for the 2004 sale:


From the Sullivan Book:

More recently a certified one sold for $750 at a Stacks Bowers auction on Sept. 19, 2013. From the Ford Collection auction:

"A significant rarity, known to Satterlee only from a specimen in the New York State Library and described in the 1864 McCoy sale as “only one other known.” While DeWitt attributes the dies to Charles Cushing Wright, the style looks nothing like his other efforts in portraiture to us. We note a Very Fine specimen offered in Elder’s sale of the Lynch collection in 1921 and a copper plated specimen as lot 9 of McSorley sale (PCAC #54, July 10-11, 1998). This one is attractive light gray with some minor wear and handling and traces of lustre around peripheries. Some minor spotting and a few areas of raised pest are seen under a glass. A long nearly vertical die crack through the central obverse seems to have guaranteed this die would produce few strikes. A very important Clay piece."

1840 Election:

1840 campaign tokens for William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States. Harrison gave a very lengthy acceptance speech (longest on record - 2 hours) on a cold, wet day at his inauguration and following parade in March, 1841, caught a cold and died a month later of pneumonia. First President to die in office, and the one with the shortest time in office. Harrison was a Whig candidate and beat out the current president - Martin Van Buren, a Democrat. 

Harrison was a hero at The Battle of Tippecanoe, a battle with the native American Indians under the leadership of the Shawnee chief, Tecumseh, in 1811. John Tyler was his Vice president, and if you ever heard the phrase "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" that was one of the campaign slogans.

Another variety of 1840 Harrison campaign token:


1840 brass campaign medal (below) for Martin Van Buren (Democrat), who was the existing president going into the 1840 election. Van Buren had won the 1836 presidential election, however, he lost to the Whig candidate, William Henry Harrison in 1840.

The reverse: "Weighed in the balance & found wanting", referring to the Whig party being a bad choice for the presidency, and the scale showing that the Democrats were a better choice. It didn't matter - Harrison and the Whigs won. The reverse also appears on other Whig campaign medals, for other Whig candidates in other elections.

1841 - the "Accidental President", John Tyler

Although a Democrat, John Tyler of Virginia ran as Vice-President on the Whig ticket with William Henry Harrison. Harrison was elected our 9th President in 1840, and died of illness after only 30 days in office. Often called the "accidental president", Tyler was the first Vice President to succeed to the office of President upon the President's death, and was the first person to serve as President without ever being elected to that office. 

Tyler's opposition to federalism and his support of states' rights endeared him to southerners, but alienated him from most of the political allies who originally helped him to become the choice as Vice-President. Opposition from Democratic as well as Whig parties crippled his presidency. 

During the final days of Tyler's term, Congress passed a resolution authorizing the Texas annexation, which was later carried out by Tyler's successor as President, James K. Polk.

Near the end of his life he would side with the South in its secession from the United States, and at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Tyler sided with the Confederate government, and won election to the Confederate House of Representatives shortly before his death.

Dated 1841 the below medal is actually a medal made for the 1840 Presidential election. There are are no campaign medals for Tyler, as he wasn't chosen to run in 1844.The reverse legend states "Go It Tip" for Harrison's involvement in the Battle of Tippecanoe (Indian wars) in 1811. "Come it Tyler" refers to vice-presidential candidate John Tyler. "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" was a campaign slogan used in 1840.

The medal below is a non-contemporary, brass commemorative token, minted by Osborne Company in Cincinnati, Ohio - date unknown. No campaign tokens or medals exist for Tyler himself as he was never chosen to run as president.

1844 Election:

Democrat James K. Polk was America's first "dark horse" presidential candidate, and won the 1844 election to become our 11th president. Polk's platform was based on America's popular commitment to territorial expansionism, referred to as "Manifest Destiny". Polk was successful in linking the US-British boundary dispute over the partition of Oregon Territory, with the divisive Texas annexation debate. In doing this, Polk united the anti-slavery Northern expansionists, who pushed for Oregon as free-soil, with the pro-slavery Southern expansionists, who wanted Texas as a slave state. Due to being chosen as a candidate late in the process by the Democrats, there are very few Polk campaign tokens, and they are quite rare and rarely offered. I was pleased to finally be able to find and purchase the below medal with a portrait of James K. Polk on the obverse and George M Dallas on the reverse. This design is undated, but it is one of the few medals made for the 1844 election:

The below is a circa 1860 Polk Residence medal designed by die cutter George H. Lovett.

1844 was Henry Clay's 3rd and final attempt to be elected President. A member of the Whig Party, he lost his campaigns for president in 1824, 1832 and 1844. In 1844 he lost to the Democratic "dark horse" candidate James K. Polk 

Medalet HC 1844-35: Obverse - Henry Clay, The Ashland Farmer, Born April 12, 1777, 1844. Reverse - The Noble And Patriotic Supporter Of Protection. The large die crack on the left of the reverse is seen on many examples of this medalet.

1848 Election:

The presidential election of 1848 was was won by Zachary Taylor of the Whig Party, who ran against former President Martin Van Buren. The incumbent President, James K. Polk, achieved his major objectives in one term and suffering from declining health chose to not seek re-election. This was the first presidential election to take place on the same day in every state.

Taylor was a general and hero of the Mexican American War. He commanded American forces at the Battle of Palo Alto and a nearby Battle of Resaca de la Palma, defeating the Mexican forces, who greatly outnumbered his own.

Despite treatment for an intestinal problem, Taylor's term as President was cut short by his death, at 65 years old, on July 9, 1850. His term was finished by our 13th President - Millard Fillmore.

Medal promoting Taylor for the 1848 election 

The legend on the obverse: "Hero of Palo Alto, Resaca de La Palma, Monterey, and Buena vista, 1847" and "Major General Zachary Taylor".

1852 Election:

Franklin Pierce - winner of the election.

1852 campaign token for Franklin Pierce, a veteran of the Mexican-American war, and first president to be born in the 19th century. As 14th President of the United States (1853–1857) Pierce is the only President from New Hampshire, was a Democrat, and a "doughface" - a name given to northerners with sympathies for the south and slavery. His Vice President was William King. As President, Pierce made decisions which were widely criticized and earned him the reputation as one of the worst presidents in the history of the U.S. 


Winfield Scott - lost the 1852 election.

The reverse of the below 1852 presidential campaign medal is damaged, and lists his military successes in Chippewa, Lundy's Lane, Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Churubusco, Chapultepec, Mexico.

Winfield Scott served on active duty as a general longer than any other man in American history. Over the course of his long 53 year career, he commanded forces in the War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Mexican-American War, the Second Seminole War, and, for a brief time, the American Civil War. Known by many as "Old Fuss and Feathers" and the "Grand Old Man of the Army". Scott served under every President from Jefferson to Lincoln. 

During his short service in the Civil War, his physical infirmities cast doubt on his fitness for command. His weight had gone up to over 300 lbs, and mocking his old nickname, he was called "Old Fat and Feeble". After conflicts with Lincoln and General McClellan he resigned in November, 1861.

For the election of 1852 In the 1852 the Whig Party declined to nominate the incumbent President, Millard Fillmore. Hoping to repeat previous successes with war heroes, the Whigs nominated Scott instead. Scott's anti-slavery reputation cut his support in the South, while the Whig Party's pro-slavery platform hurt their support in the North. Democrat Franklin Pierce was elected in an overwhelming win.

The 1852 presidential campaign medal below depicts Scott being wounded at the War of 1812, Battle of Lundy's Lane. Very nice detail on the medal, but some corrosion on the surfaces.

The Battle of Lundy's Lane, also known as the Battle of Niagara Falls was a battle during the War of 1812, took place on 25 July 1814, in what is now Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. One of the bloodiest battles of the war, and one of the deadliest battles ever fought on Canadian soil. 84 British were killed, along with 174 Americans, and hundreds wounded on both sides. The victory went to the British, with the Americans retreating to Fort Erie. General Winfield Scott was severely wounded but survived.

1856 Election:

1856 presidential campaign token promoting the democratic candidate, James Buchanan. Buchanan won the election to become our 15th President.

The "No Sectionalism" comment on the obverse of the token is a reference to the growing divide (Sectionalism) between the northern & southern states over slavery. The Democrats chose a candidate from the North to run, James Buchanan - a less than ideal pick, he would, at the end of his first and only term, do nothing when South Carolina seceded in December 1860. They seceded because Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected - the South claimed Lincoln was not their president since "not one Republican resided in the South." Many consider Buchanan a failure, as his lack of decisions on important issues led directly into the bloody war that followed his administration, and he couldn't wait to skip town on Lincoln's swearing-in. 


1856 campaign token - John C. Fremont (lost the election).

Fremont, of California, was an American military officer, explorer of the western USA, and politician who became the first presidential candidate of the newly formed anti-slavery Republican Party. Fremont lost the election to Buchanan. Fremont crusaded against the expansion of slavery, while Democrat Buchanan (winner in 1856) warned that the Republicans were extremists whose victory would lead to civil war.

The Republican party campaign used the slogan "Free Soil, Free Men, and Fremont", crusading for free farms (homesteads) and against slavery.

Some historians think that had Fremont been elected, the US Civil War would have begun 4 years earlier. The civil war was of course delayed until after Republican Lincoln's election in 1860.

An eagle reverse similar to this one was popular on many campaign tokens.


1856 Campaign Medal - Millard Fillmore, assumed presidency upon President Taylor's death, wasn't nominated in 1852, and lost the 1856 election to Buchanan.

Never directly elected as President, Millard Fillmore of New York was the 13th President of the United States, and the last Whig President.Fillmore was Vice-President of the United States when President Zachary Taylor died. He was an anti-slavery moderate, while opposing slavery, he backed the Compromise of 1850 which did not exclude slaves from all of the territory gained during the Mexican War. In 1852, Fillmore decided to run for a full term in his own right, but the Whig Convention of that year turned to General Winfield Scott, who would lose to Franklin Pierce in the general election. By the time the 1856 election came around the Whig Party had broken up. The American Party that embraced anti-immigration, anti-Catholic and Know-Nothing elements, picked Fillmore as its Presidential Nominee in 1856.  Fillmore's running mate that year was Andrew Jackson Donelson, the nephew of former President Andrew Jackson. Fillmore ran a distant third to James Buchanan and John C. Freemont, polling alittle over 800,000 votes and carrying only the state of Maryland for its 8 electoral votes.

Fillmore is considered by most to be in the bottom 10 of historical rankings of Presidents of the USA.

1860 Election:

1860 Lincoln "Rail Splitter" brass campaign token, from Lincoln's first campaign for President. 

One of the most popular medals made for the election of 1860. The reverse shows a young beardless Lincoln (Republican, anti-slavery) as "The Rail Splitter of the West", splitting rails, supposedly as "helper" Stephen Douglas (Democrat) looks on in a subordinate position to Lincoln. Lincoln defeated Douglas, and before Lincoln's inauguration could even take place, seven Southern states had declared their secession and formed the Confederacy. The following year, 1861, saw the start of the Civil War.

1860 presidential campaign medal for Stephen A. Douglas.

Born April 23, 1813 in Brandon, Vermont to Stephen Arnold Douglass and Sarah Fisk, he migrated to Winchester, Illinois in 1833. Douglas dropped the second "s" from his name later in life.

A Democrat, Stephen A. Douglas was nicknamed the "Little Giant" because he was short in physical stature, but a forceful and dominant figure in politics. As a senator from Illinois, he debated in 1858 with future president Abraham Lincoln, is what is now known by many as the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. Douglas defeated Lincoln and won re-election as Illinois Senator.

Douglas placed 4th in the 1860 presidential election in electoral votes, and 2nd in the popular vote, with Lincoln finishing first in both categories.

When civil war came in April 1861, Douglas rallied his supporters to the Union with all his energies, but died a few weeks later, on June 3, 1861.

The medal is small, only 20 mm, and was engraved by George H. Lovett. This one looks to be uncirculated, with proof-like surfaces, and a few spots on the obverse.

Below is an 1860 presidential campaign medal for John A. Bell. A bit worn, but I was happy to find it.

In 1860, former die-hard Southern Whigs and "Know Nothings" felt they could support neither the National Democratic Party, the Constitutional Democratic Party nor the Republican Party, and they formed the Constitutional Union Party. They nominated John Bell (former Whig Party) of Tennessee for president over Governor Sam Houston of Texas.

John Bell finished 3rd in electoral votes, behind Republican Abraham Lincoln and John C. Breckinridge (Southern Democratic Party), but placed last in the popular vote.

Although Bell was a slave owner, he was one of a few southern politicians that opposed the expansion of slavery in the 1850s, and campaigned against secession in the years leading up to the American Civil War. However, after the Civil War began at Fort Sumter in 1861, Bell abandoned the Union cause for support of the Confederacy.

1864 Election:

In 1864 the incumbent President, Lincoln, beat out the Democratic nominee - George B. McClellan. Only 25 states participated in the election - the 11 Southern states that had declared secession from the Union and formed the Confederacy were not involved the 1864 election. Kansas, West Virginia, and Nevada were 3 new states that had their votes counted for the first time. Of the 25 states allowed to vote, McClellan won only 3 states - Kentucky, Delaware, and New Jersey (his home state).

This patriotic civil war token is also considered a campaign token for the 1864 election. By the 1860s the expression "O.K." was already in wide use to denote approval. 

The Fuld 125/428a is also an R-6 rarity - 21 to 75 considered to be in existence.

Never elected, Andrew Johnson was became our 17th president in 1865. These are 2 very similar medals, with slightly different obverse dies. While Johnson was never elected President, he served as our 17th President after Lincoln's assassination in 1865. Although Johnson was a democrat, he had been chosen by Republican Lincoln as a show of national unity. Johnson was later impeached, in 1868,  by the House of Representatives, but narrowly avoided conviction. He was not nominated to run for President in 1868.

I found that they're also listed as patriotic CWTs in my Fuld book. Having a campaign medal with Johnson's portrait filled a hole in my collection of campaign medals for past presidents of the 1800's.

This first one isn't in the best condition, and ones with Andrew Johnson's portrait are difficult to find. This one (R7) has die cutter R. Lovett Jr.'s initials (R.L.) under both Lincoln's portrait on the obverse, as well as under Johnson's portrait on the reverse.

Much nicer condition on this one. The easiest difference between the Sullivan #1864-67 and 68, and Fuld 132 and 132A, is that the 132A lacks the R.L. initials under Lincoln on the obverse, with the same reverse as above, and is an R8 in my 2005 Fuld book. Small differences in Lincoln's beard as well.

I won the medal below in a "mystery bag" of several coins and exonumia from a members' auction on the numissociety.com coin forum. I was stumped as to what it was, as it wasn't listed by DeWitt/Sullivan or by Fuld in his Patriotic Civil War Tokens book. No one had an idea what it was. After a lot of searching I finally found it listed in a Hake's Auction record. It appears to be very rare and may be only the second one known to exist.



" Item Description15/16" with silver luster finish largely complete except for small area on reverse lower right edge which has darkened. Obverse has his bust facing right at center and under this is the numeral "25" although the significance is unknown to us. The obverse text is "Abraham Lincoln/In God We Trust." On the reverse at the center is a spread wing eagle with olive branch and arrows in the talons. Two circles of text read "United States of America/1864/For Ever Inseparable." Unlisted in both DeWitt/Sullivan and Hake. VF and the first example we've seen."
Hakes Auction photos:

Another note on the above unlisted medal, for a rarer brass version, from a John Kraljevich Americana auction: 

"One of the most fascinating of the Lincoln campaign medalets, perhaps intended as a private pattern for coinage considering the inclusion of "In God We Trust" and an apparent denomination of 25 cents."


1863/64 campaign token for General George B. McClellan (lost the election).

During the civil war, General George B. McClellan failed to maintain the trust of Lincoln and the General's leadership skills during battles were questioned by President Lincoln, who eventually removed him from command.

In 1864, with the Democrats divided by issues of war and peace, they sought a strong candidate who could unify their party. The compromise was a nomination of pro-war General McClellan for president and anti-war Representative George H. Pendleton for vice-president. The 1864 Democratic convention adopted a peace platform, of which McClellan personally rejected. McClellan supported continuing the war and the restoration of the Union, but the party platform opposed McClellan's position. McClellan won only three states - Kentucky, Delaware, and his home state of New Jersey. As we should know, Lincoln was the winner of the 1864 election.

Here's a McClellan campaign medal for the 1864 election - white metal, 34 mm diameter. 

The McClellan token below doubles as a patriotic civil war token (Fuld 141/307), as well as a presidential campaign token (Sullivan/Dewitt #GMCC 1864-32). Although dated and issued in 1863, it was extensively circulated during McClellan's 1864 presidential campaign.

1868 Election:

This was the first presidential election after Lincoln's assassination. For the 1868 election, the Democrats nominated Horatio Seymour (with running mate Francis Blair) to take on the Republican candidate, Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant. Grant was popular in the North due to his efforts in ending the Civil War successfully for the Union. 

The phrase on the reverse, "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer" is one of his famous quotes from the civil war. 


A loser of the 1868 election, Horatio Seymour.......

Although Seymour was buried in the electoral college, he gave Grant a good race for the popular vote. Grant benefited from votes from the freed slaves in the South. It was also the first election in which African Americans could vote. Grant won office thanks to the black voters, which numbered above 700,000. This resulted in Grant being the first President to be elected with a minority of the white vote.

The relief on the obverse of this Seymour/Blair is really raised - more so than other campaign tokens I've gotten. The "General Amnesty" promoted on the reverse refers to giving amnesty to the defeated confederates of the civil war.

Seymour was a strong opponent of Radical Reconstruction, and its emphasis on guaranteeing civil and political rights for freed slaves. That is probably reflected on the reverse of this 1886 campaign medal promoting Seymour and VP running mate Francis Blair.

1872 Election:

In 1872, Ulysses S. Grant (Republican) was easily elected to a second term in office, with Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts as his vice presidential running mate. 

The Greeley/Brown medal below is from Horace Greeley's unsuccessful 1872 presidential campaign, and lists his vice presidential running mate (Benjamin) Brown on the reverse.

Horace Greeley (founder & editor of the New York Tribune) was an American newspaper editor, a founder of the Liberal Republican Party, reformer, politician, and opponent of slavery. "The Sage of Chappaqua" on the obverse refers to Greeley being a wise person from Chappaqua, NY (later known as Newcastle, NY).

Crusading against the corruption of U.S. Grant's Republican administration, he was the candidate of the new Liberal Republican Party in the 1872 U.S. presidential election. Despite having the support of the Democratic Party, he lost to Grant in a landslide. 

After the 1872 popular vote was counted, but before the Electoral College cast its votes, Greeley died. He is the only presidential candidate to have died prior to the counting of electoral votes.

1876 Election:

Rutherford Birchard Hayes, an attorney in Ohio, and a Republican, was the 19th President of the United States (1877–1881). While president, he presided over the end of Reconstruction, began efforts that led to civil service reform, and worked to reconcile the divisions left over from the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Running against Democrat Samuel J. Tilden of New York, Tilden received more than 50 percent of the popular vote but was not elected president by the Electoral College. One of four elections in which the person receiving the largest proportion of the popular vote lost the election.

Hayes and wife,Lucy, were known for a policy of keeping an alcohol-free White House, giving rise to his wife's nickname of "Lemonade Lucy."Hayes declined to seek re-election in 1880, keeping his pledge that he would not run for a second term.

This is a nice Hayes campaign medal in AU or better condition, with a lot of the original luster. Die cutter G. H. Lovett:

Below is a satirical political medal advising people not to vote for Samuel J. Tilden in the 1876, and future elections.

Tilden, (Democrat Governor of NY) had prosecuted machine politicians in New York and sent legendary political boss William M. Tweed ("Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall) to prison. He ran as a reform candidate against the corruption of the former Grant administration. 

Tilden, (Democrat Governor of NY) had prosecuted machine politicians in New York and sent legendary political boss William M. Tweed ("Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall) to prison. Both Republicans and Democrats mounted mud-slinging campaigns in 1876. The New York Tribune claimed that secret code "cipher" telegrams sent by Tilden's staff during the1876 electoral dispute offered bribes to election vote-counters. Although Tilden was never found guilty of fraud, his reputation suffered from the accusations.

Another one by die cutter G. H. Lovett

1880 Election:

1880 Presidential Election campaign token for James A. Garfield and his nominee for vice-president, Chester A. Arthur. Garfield won the Republican nomination and defeated his Democrat opponent, Winfield S. Hancock. Garfield was our 20th President.

Arthur became the 21st President, after Garfield was assassinated. Garfield's presidency lasted just 200 days—from March 4, 1881, until his death on September 19, 1881, as a result of being shot by assassin Charles J. Guiteau on July 2. Only William Henry Harrison's presidency (campaign token also in post #1), of 31 days, was shorter. Garfield was the second of four United States Presidents to be assassinated.


1880 campaign token for Democratic nominee Winfield S. Hancock (lost the election). Winfield Scott Hancock was a Union General in the Civil War, a hero at Gettysburg, and was the Democratic nominee for President in 1880, but was defeated by Republican James A. Garfield. The cloverleaf design on the reverse was the insignia of Hancock’s Second Army Corps. 

1884 Election:

Campaign token promoting S(tephen) Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, for the 1884 term of office. Cleveland was president twice (1884 and 1892), with Benjamin Harrison beating Cleveland in between, for the 1888 term of office. This one appears to be made of white metal.


In 1884 Republican James G. Blaine (and his VP candidate John A. Logan) lost the election to Grover Cleveland. This type is called a "jugate" token as it shows both men. I liked the political slogan on the reverse of this one. Unfortunately, it didn't come to pass, as democrat Cleveland won the election. 

1888 Election:

1888 campaign token for our 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison. Benjamin was grandson of our 9th President, William Henry Harrison. Harrison, a republican, beat out the incumbent president, Grover Cleveland, in 1888, but Cleveland came back in 1892 and beat Harrison for Cleveland's second term as our 24th President.

This was one of those rare elections where the winner won the electoral college votes, but not the popular vote, Benjamin had a popular vote of 5,443,892, while Cleveland's total was a bit higher at 5,534,488. Pretty close. Not so close on the electoral college votes, with Harrison getting 233, and Cleveland 168.

This one appears to be brass, but in my pictures it looks like white metal.

1888 campaign medal, below, has Mr. & Mrs. (Grover & Frances) Cleveland on the obverse, and a humorous depiction of a Flying Dutchman on the reverse, stating "SEE DOT ODER SIDE", meaning that the other side is more important. As stated above, Cleveland lost the 1888 election to Benjamin Harrison, but came back to win a second non-consecutive term in 1892.

1892 Election:

Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, was elected president in 1884, but lost to Benjamin Harrison (Republican) in the 1888 election. 

In 1892 Cleveland came back to beat the incumbent Harrison, winning both the popular and electoral vote, thus becoming the only person in American history to be elected to a second, non-consecutive presidential term.

Aluminum campaign medal for Cleveland for the 1892 election, which coincided with the 1892-93 Columbian Expostion in Chicago:

1896 Election:

Republican William McKinley ran on a platform calling for prosperity for everyone through industrial growth, high tariffs, and "sound money" (gold standard). McKinley won the 1896 election. Garret Hobart was McKinley's running mate, and became Vice President upon McKinley's election.

(McKinley also won the 1900 election, but died early in his second term, with the presidency going to his 1900 running mate - Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.)

This 1896 campaign medal for McKinley looks like it has some wear, but I think it may more likely be due to poor quality of the strike. It has a blank back. The obverse simply states McKinley & Protection, 1896:

This is a different 1896 McKinley that also shows his running mate that year - Garret Hobart. The reverse has a nice design with past Presidents' portraits and names (George Washington in the center):


Campaign medal for William Jennings Bryan. Reverse: Free Coinage, Prosperity. Bryan lost the election.

Born in Salem, Illinois in 1860, William Jennings Bryan was a dominant force in the populist wing of the Democratic Party, running for (and losing) three times as candidate for President of the United States (1896, 1900 and 1908).

In 1893, the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act resulted in a collapse of the silver market. Bryan delivered speeches across the country for free silver from 1894 to 1896, building his reputation as a powerful champion of that cause. Bryan's rhetoric was crusading for inflation (based on a US money supply backed by silver deposits instead of gold deposits) Many businessmen and bankers were terrified of Bryan's support for ending the gold standard. Giving over 500 speeches in 1896, Bryan invented the "national stumping tour", in a time period when other presidential candidates stayed home. 

Bryan is also known for actively lobbying for state laws banning public schools from teaching evolution, and was involved in the 1925 Scopes trial, in Tennesee, in which teacher John Scopes was found guilty for teaching the theory of evolution, and fined $100. The state Supreme Court later reversed the verdict on a technicality and Scopes went free.

1900 Election:

Unusual 1900 gold colored campaign token/trinket advocating the Gold Standard, and promoting William McKinley for president and Theodore Roosevelt for vice president. After McKinley died in office early in his second term, Roosevelt took over as President, and Teddy Roosevelt then was re-elected in 1904.

After the Civil War, government fiscal policy favored the speculator and tycoon at the expense of working men and farmers. By the late 1890s, unrest over the economy was reaching a crisis. Everyone seemed to owe money & cash was scarce. William Jennings Bryan was the Democrat's candidate . Bryan led the Democratic Party in embracing the doctrine of "Free Silver," the unlimited coinage of silver. This would have had the effect of flooding the market with hard currency at a time when it seemed only banks had it.

Backed by wealthy interests, the Republicans spared no expense in giving Bryan and Free Silver a black eye. A classic ploy was this unique mechanical token/trinket, resembling a U.S. $20 gold piece, which shows what would happen if Bryan became president. 

Twisting the loop in one direction shows a proud eagle and "I'm all right" at the top. The reverse in this case shows that on a gold standard the dollar is worth 100 cents. The bottom states "Mack and Teddy, Prosperity"

Twisting the token loop the opposite way shows the noble eagle as crestfallen (head down), the words "Where am I at?" at the top, and the reverse shows "Free Silver" at the top with the dollar being reduced to worth 50 cents. It tells the voter to avoid "Bryanarchy and Stevenson".

And a 1900 McKinley portrait campaign medal:

Below is one of the many popular, satirical, "Bryan Money" medals issued to ridicule his policies during Bryan's free silver legislation (debasing of gold) which was fought heartily by the gold believers. This one is aluminum. The obverse states "United Snakes of America" and depicts a duck under the donkey with "POP" on it - an abbreviation representing Bryan's Populist party. I have no idea who represented as riding on the donkey. The banner states "Anti-Expansion", with "Anti Everything" at the bottom.

I hadn't seen this design before, and was pleased to get it, even if it was strangely holed in the center, rather than at the top. While the center hole leaves much of the obverse detail intact it removed the N from ONE DAM (satirical value) on the reverse.

1904 Election:

From the 1904 presidential campaign. The planchet is brass or bronze. The obverse has a portrait of Teddy Roosevelt (Republican) and the reverse has the portrait of his Vice-President, Charles W. Fairbanks.

Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt first became president after McKinley's assassination in September 1901, six months into McKinley's second term. After completing McKinley's term of office, Teddy was then elected president in 1904. Teddy was a fifth cousin to the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The actual token is a nice dark brown color - I lightened up the picture to show the detail. The bidding on this one also included the campaign pinback button below (seller's pictures of the pinback button).

1928 Election:

These two are from the 1928 election - Hoover (Republican) won and Al Smith (Democrat) lost. Getting away from my goal of 1800s medals, but the later ones are easy to find and low cost. Plus, I like the slogan on the back of the Al Smith medal.

1932 Election:

Campaign token promoting Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat) for the 1932 presidency. Prior to his election FDR was governor of NY. 

First term of office in 1932, then re-elected in 1936 and 1940. The only president to be elected more than twice. In 1951 the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution stated that no person may be elected President more than twice. FDR died in office in 1945, and his Vice-President Harry Truman took over as President.

This one appears to be a nickel or silver plated brass, with a lot of the thin plating worn off.