Catalog Archive
Auction 146, Lot 833

"Arbuckles' Illustrated Atlas of the United States of America", Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Co.

Subject: Atlases

Period: 1889 (published)


Color: Printed Color

11.2 x 7 inches
28.4 x 17.8 cm
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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, plus the covers. The front pictorial cover features a fine bird's-eye view of the Capitol building in Washington with an eagle and small map of the District of Columbia on the U.S. shield. The back cover has a great map of Alaska surrounded by regional views of seals and whalers caught on an ice field by two Polar bears, plus a moonlit view of the Arbuckle's Coffee factory in New York. Each of the 48 interior maps is surrounded by vignettes showing the beauty and commerce of the state, with text on the facing page describing the state or territory. Each of the 50 maps is beautifully lithographed in full color.

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.

Arbuckle 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 maps are near fine with very minor soil along the edges of the sheet and a few tiny creases in the blank margins. The back cover is separated and both covers contain numerous small chips and stains.

Estimate: $700 - $900


Closed on 9/4/2013