"Arbuckles' Album of Illustrated Natural History", Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Co.
Subject: Prints - Animal
Period: 1890 (dated)
Color: Printed Color
11.1 x 7 inches
28.2 x 17.8 cm
This unusual and attractive booklet focused on the animal kingdom was designed to advertise Arbuckle's Coffee. There are 12 sheets and wrappers held together by its original twisted string tie. Each sheet features four beautiful chromolithographic illustrations of mammals from across the globe including a leopard, puma, lynx, bighorn sheep, polar bear, aardvark, gorilla, and many more. Including the illustrations of lions on the front wrapper and a zebu and cacomixle on the rear wrapper, 51 different species are depicted in full color. Text on the facing page describes each animal and 2 pages at the end highlight the coffee industry. Lithographed by the Knapp Company.
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. Several of these 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 130 years after they were issued. The original Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Company, on the other hand, vanished from the scene over 75 years ago.
The colorful plates are good to very good with occasional minor abrasions and light soiling. There is a 1.75" edge tear in the first page impacting the illustration of the llama, and a dampstain at the top left of the last page impacting the illustration of the otocyon (fox). Both wrappers have separated from the string ties with the front wrapper torn in several places and the rear wrapper dampstained.