Arbuckle Coffee Trade Cards Banner


Size: (varies slightly, but approx.) 3" x 4" or 4" x 3"
Date: Undated
Lithographer: (possibly) Raphael Tuck

Some, and perhaps most, of the designs of the cards in this group are likely attributable to Raphael Tuck. Greg Q. ArBuckle, who contributed several of the images shown for this series, believes, and I tend to agree with him, that these cards are part of a series of 100 that The American Card Catalog (J. R. Burdick) identifies as Tuck "Art Types".  (Unfortunately, not a single one of these cards is illustrated in that book). However, none of the cards found thus far carry a Tuck logo or copyright, so it's not possible to definitively identify Tuck as the lithograher for them.  In fact, at least two of the designs seem to have originated with another firm, Hildesheimer & Faulkner.

In any event, these are certainly generic “stock” cards and use of the designs on trade cards wasn't limited to Arbuckle Brothers. In fact, the three “Angel Head” designs can actually be traced back to similar 1881 Tuck Christmas / New Year’s cards, originally drawn by Rebecca Coleman.  Other designs are also known to exist on Tuck greeting cards, although their dates of issue are unknown.

The cards seem to be of a consistent size, give or take a quarter of an inch in any dimension and, as with the Miscellany - Unnumbered series, they comprise a very eclectic assortment of subjects. In fact, the cards in the Angels category have nearly identical counterparts in Miscellany - Unnumbered.

The back of each card contains identical black text, in a vertical format, stating that there's "A Picture Similar to this Inside every Pound Package of Arbuckles' Ariosa Coffee". (See example.) It also states that there are 100 different designs, which would be consistent with the Tuck cards listed by Burdick. However, it goes on to state that no advertisement appears on them, but it's unclear whether that means that there's no advertising at all on the cards, or if there's simply no advertising on the illustrated (i.e., front) side.

Considering the fact that far fewer than 100 different designs of these Tuck-style cards have come to my attention, and that many of the same ones shown here keep turning up time and again, I'm increasingly inclined to believe that this small group of cards was simply distributed over-the-counter as "teasers" and that the series of 100 they refer to either truly had no advertising on them whatsover (in which case I doubt if we'll ever be able to link those cards to Arbuckle) or the "similar" cards were actually the Miscellany - Unnumbered set of 100.

Does anybody else out there have any additional cards of this type, or any further insight into this series, that they'd like to share with the Arbuckle collecting community?