1888 N154 Duke Presidential Baseball Card Set

‘It’s In The Details’

Title N154 Duke Presidential Baseball
Year 1888
Size 2 1/4″ x 4 1/4″
Images Sepia
Type 19th Century Tobacco
Number in Set

N154 Duke Sons Presidential Baseball Overview

N154 Cleveland Fielding Fly 2.jpg

Duke Sons & Company produced a variety of comical baseball and non-sports issues in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Among them was the 1888 N154 Presidential baseball card set.

If you haven’t heard of this quirky set, it’s a rare 19th century issue. They aren’t impossible to find but with fewer than 100 graded between PSA, SGC, and Beckett combined, you certainly won’t be likely to see these at your local card shop most of the time. Even with the resources of online shopping, finding them isn’t terribly easy.

The cards are one of the many humorous tobacco sets out there. The highlights are clearly the oversized heads of presidential candidates on the bodies of female baseball players. Candidates were from the 1888 election and included Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, Levi Morton, and Allen Thurman. If you’re not up on your history, Harrison defeated Cleveland, who was president at the time.

Their heads were placed on the bodies of other female baseball players to create fictional players. The female players were not actual players and were either models or possibly even some workers from the company’s factories.

So what was the exact origin for the bodies used in the pictures? A few possibilities exist. First, they could have been exact copies of cards in the N48 or closely related N508 Sub Rosa sets. Second, they could have been exact copies of cards in the also related Black Stocking Nine cabinet series (basically larger versions of N48 type cards). Finally, they could have been extra images from the N48 shoots that the company had but never used.

The cards are sepia toned and have blank backs. Produced in 1888, these were some of the earlier baseball cards produced.

The cards are not terribly easy to find. That is evidenced by the population reports for the three major grading companies, PSA, SGC, and Beckett. To date, the three have combined to grade fewer than 100 of them in all.

Finally, note that there are two different types of these cards. Both are similar, but one has wavy text at the bottom while the other has straight text. Also worth a mention is that the cards with the wavy text feature larger heads on the subjects.

N154 Duke Sons Presidential Baseball Checklist

This checklist includes both types of variations as discussed above (wavy text vs. straight text).

  1. Grover Cleveland
  2. Grover Cleveland
  3. Grover Cleveland
  4. Grover Cleveland
  5. Grover Cleveland
  6. Grover Cleveland/Benjamin Harrison
  7. Grover Cleveland/Benjamin Harrison
  8. Grover Cleveland/Benjamin Harrison
  9. Grover Cleveland/Benjamin Harrison
  10. Grover Cleveland/Levi Morton
  11. Benjamin Harrison
  12. Benjamin Harrison
  13. Benjamin Harrison
  14. Benjamin Harrison
  15. Levi Morton
  16. Levi Morton
  17. Levi Morton
  18. Levi Morton
  19. Allen Thurman
  20. Allen Thurman
  21. Allen Thurman
  22. Allen Thurman

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