Arbuckle Coffee Trade Cards Banner


Size: Varies
Date: Varies (but Arbuckle usage for most is likely 1888 or later)
Lithographer: Varies (many unidentified, nearly half are L. Prang)

Most of the other groups of Arbuckle Coffee cards I've listed on this site come under the classification of "Insert" cards, meaning cards that were distributed by insertion into a package of coffee.

There are quite a few additional Arbuckle cards that might be classed as "Counter" or, simply, "Advertising" cards. These cards were handed out directly to customers, or potential customers, at point-of-sale or elsewhere, to convey the Arbuckle Brothers' advertising message and, hopefully, induce the customer to buy the Arbuckles' brand of coffee. They were issued in a variety of sizes and subjects and don't appear to belong to a "set" of any kind. In fact, they're all probably ordinary stock cards that Arbuckles' simply imprinted with their own advertising and distributed as needed to their retail merchants. There are five major styles for the backs of the cards in this group, with several minor variations. (See examples.)

These "counter" cards are fairly rare and can be quite expensive. In fact, just slightly over half the cards you see in this category come from my own collection. The rest of the images have been contributed by other collectors. It's difficult to say how early some of these cards might've been issued. Many, if not most, of them can be dated (from an Arbuckle standpoint) as 1888 or later (based on the August 2, 1888 date included in the Poison In The Cup! affidavit on the back of those cards ). Cards originally printed by Louis Prang may bear a Prang copyright date but that isn't likely to indicate when Arbuckles' actually distributed the cards with their own overprint. More than likely, they simply used whatever remainders of Prang card stock were available whenever they had a need to print more cards.

Some of the designs were used by Raphael Tuck & Sons on greeting cards, but it's difficult to know if the designs originated with Tuck or were simply obtained from a common source. Tuck generally claimed a copyright on their cards, but never seemed to specify a year, so dating them relative to the Arbuckle cards is nearly impossible.