Catalog Archive
Auction 118, Lot 947

"Arbuckles' Illustrated Atlas of Fifty Principal Nations of the World", Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Co.

Subject: Atlases

Period: 1889 (dated)


Color: Printed Color

11.2 x 7 inches
28.4 x 17.8 cm

A nice example of this unusual atlas that was designed to advertise Arbuckle's Coffee. The atlas is printed on loose pages held together with original twisted string tie. This oblong 4to atlas has 12 sheets, each with four beautiful chromolithographic maps. The front pictorial wrapper has a map of Egypt plus the western hemisphere with numerous cherubs around the bottom. The rear wrapper has a map of Brazil plus a view of the Arbuckles factory and two finely dressed women enjoying Arbuckle's coffee. Text on facing page describes the map. Total of 50 maps, 48 in mint condition.

Beginning in the mid-1880's, the Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Company began to include advertising cards, commonly referred to as "trade cards" in packages of their coffee. This was a common device used by companies of the time to tout the virtues of their products. But the Arbuckle company carried the concept a step further and created a series of very desirable images. They then encouraged their customers to collect the entire series of cards and to trade cards with their neighbors in order to complete their sets. Thus, "trade" cards began to evolve into "trading" cards.

Arbuckles issued a great variety of cards including birds, animals, cooking, satire, sports and maps. The map series, U.S. States and Nations of the World, were extremely popular. Both series were reissued in album format, available from the company as a mail-order premium. These fascinating cards and albums are still actively collected today, more than 120 years after they were issued. The original Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Company, on the other hand, vanished from the scene over 60 years ago.


Condition: B

The front cover is a little soiled with chips at both right side corners. The rear cover is torn and rough. The individual interior maps are all fine. At some point in its past, one sheet was turned upside down: easy to fix but we'll let the new owner untie the atlas.

Estimate: $150 - $300

Sold for: $950

Closed on 3/6/2007