1960 San Diego – $71 shipped. SOLD!


A good deal for the buyer.

You are probably going to get a dozen or so eBay listings for atlases from the 60s, and this 1960 is pretty rare in the condition it is in.

Up for auction is a great original 1960 Thomas Bros. atlas of San Diego County and other areas nearby at that time. It also has birds eye views of the San Diego Bay and river, Mission Bay, Sweetwater Reservoir and some lakes. This 92 page spiral bound Atlas is 9 1/2″ X 8 1/4″ and is in 9 condition. Would be near mint if not for a small rip on the front cover by the letter Y in County.  Back cover is excellent. Covers I believe to by hard vinyl. This pages are so nice and snug it is as though it was never read. Loaded with info about the area at that time. It has no missing pages and no fading or yellowing.


Even from the posted images, you get some good insight into historical geography:


Odd to see Del Mar unincorporated and not a tiny sliver of orange on this page.  Also, since Interstate 5 broke up the El Camino Real, which is historically the road that connected all the missions in the state of California and straight up into the bay area, you might be able to see the configuration that continuously runs parallel to the coast from US Highway 80 up into Oceanside.

Look closely at the Del Mar Racetrack, and might be able to see a dot that represents Bing Crosby watching his horse lose, before he packs up his clubs and heads for golf in Rancho Santa Fe!


If you look closely, even at more recent atlases in San Diego, you will see the federal township boundaries, especially in the rural areas northeast of the urban areas.  More towards downtown, such as in El Cajon, you will see the United States recognizing the land grants (“ranchos”) given to families as Mexican citizens.  For North Island, pictured above, I have never noticed before – Rancho Peninsula.  (Yes, North Island is a peninsula, not an island.)

A lot of great information, and someday perhaps, I will get my hands on it.  But for now, the hope is that these collectors will take great care of them.



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Filed under San Diego

Damn cool and damn out of my price range.

For once, an eBay seller has used the word “rare” right.



That is a fine piece of history and craftsmanship.  And it is vintage (the company had only been around 8 years!).  And it is rare.  This is the first of its kind I have ever seen on eBay.  I think it may well grab a $250 bid.  Because this is the kind of artifact that would in fact be thrown away once obsolete.


With the exception of the “Index to Tracts” section and a few other elements on this page, EVERYTHING was hand-drawn.  From 1915 to 1993, the Thomas Brothers Company drafted every single map, and a lot of the lettering, with non-digital techniques.  And it is all very neat and beautiful.


The specimen has pencil marks (it appears as though the title company made some corrections to Thomas’s information on some pages), but I don’t think that will affect the value, which is WAY out of my price range.

Hey, whoever wins this auction: please take good care of this atlas.

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Still unofficially appraising the atlases.

I’m still looking at the eBay listings for Thomas Guide and miscellany, so I can still unofficially appraise, but for the most part, I’ve moved on to other projects.

I’m still available for questions, but be aware I may not get back to you promptly.

Thanks for reading!



Filed under Uncategorized

Price List for March.

More Los Angeles  glut.  A 1969 atlas slipped by at just under $8 shipping included.

3/3 : 1964 Los Angeles – $61

3/4: 1977 Contra-Costa – $14.99

3/7: 1957 Los Angeles – $29

3/7: 1989 King-Pierce-Snohomish – $15

3/11: 1946 Los Angeles Property Zone Edition – $190

3/13: 1972 Los Angeles – $22.10

3/16: 1951 Los Angeles – $62.30

3/28: 1960 Renie Los Angeles-Orange – $32.13

4/1: 1955 Renie Los Angeles – $31

4/3: 1969 Los Angeles – $2.24 plus $4.98 shipping.




Filed under Price List

Sellers: Los Angeles is the least collectible atlas.

Across this country, people are “scouting” used items for sale on the Internet.  There is even a TV show about “thrifting” – something I have been doing for years.  Buying low, selling high.

I’m going to give a little tip to eBay sellers who may happen upon this blog while researching prices for Thomas Brothers atlases: Los Angeles atlases are not as collectible as other areas.  There is simply too much supply and not enough demand, as I figure those Thomas enthusiasts are pretty much all set on their collections for Los Angeles.

1975 Los Angeles-Orange County (fair) – $10 UNSOLD

1977 Los Angeles Zip Code (good) – $24.00 UNSOLD, relisted for same price

1978 Los Angeles (fair/good) – $14.99 auction UNSOLD, relisted for Buy It Now with Make Offer, $19.99

It is actually amusing to see the salesmanship of some of these auctions.  Los Angeles atlases, especially 1970 on, are NOT RARE as these auctions advertise.  Los Angeles was the first market introduced to bound atlases in the late 40s, so any collector with a nostalgic yen would have started collecting them as they came out in the 70s.

Eventually, Thomas emerged in other areas in the west.  Some first editions appeared in the 1970s, and those are rare for two reasons:

One, nobody was thinking about collecting what was essentially ephemera in that geographic area back then.

And two, the circulation, based on population, of areas like San Diego, San Francisco, Northern California, Washington, was far below Los Angeles-Orange.

San Diego kept growing in population and in the 1980s was the second highest in the state.  Since circulation kept up with the boom, I would also not call any of those map books in the 1980s as rare either.


So, for scouts picking up atlases to sell on eBay, I would avoid L.A. in the 70s on, San Diego in the 80s on and pretty much everything else after the 1994 (the year Thomas went digital).


Filed under Uncategorized

ON SALE on eBay – 1928 Folding Map of San Jose, California.

I’ve been following this auction.


It is the third relisting of a 1928 Thomas Brothers foldup map of San Jose and San Jose County.  With a starting bid of $79.99.

So this was produced in the fifteenth year of Thomas’s existence during Herbert Hoover’s pre-depression presidency, eons before San Jose would become the eighth largest city in America and the center of its technology industry.

So why hasn’t it sold yet?

Firstly, it is a folding map.  Even though it may have been produced before the first atlas was bound for Los Angeles County in the 1940s, it is still pretty much one sheet as opposed to several sheets in a typical book format.

Secondly, the condition is fair at best.  The tears suggest that the 85-year old paper is pretty brittle and already has several chunks taken out of it.

This map might be rare, but it may not be $80 valuable.

I’m thinking $20-$30, but the seller seems insistent on his low-end bid.

What’s the definition of insanity again?

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Filed under Santa Clara

Renie-mania in winter on eBay.

A lot of activity recently for Jack Renie Atlases, George Thomas’s competitor for a while a half-century ago.

Renie specialized is pocket-sized map books:

1957 Renie Riverside/San Bernardino – $57.99

Again, it’s not Los Angeles, so it commands a premium, even in fair-to-good condition:


Hey look, it also includes Las Vegas!

I think the seller made a mistake not advertising that.  A 1957 map of the Las Vegas strip?  That would have been a good selling point to fans of Las Vegas, not just map collectors.  Missed opportunity, definitely.  Who knows how much it would have fetched if “Las Vegas” was even one of its keywords?  The buyer got a bargain because of that, I think.


A couple of 1946 Los Angeles sold, one for $26 at auction, the other $39.99 as a Buy it Now:



And a 1959 Los Angeles with Orange County, Fire Engine Red, for $28.94:


The title page lists it as “16th edition” – so if we are doing math and assuming Renie issued their atlases annually, the first edition Los Angeles atlas was for the year 1944.


All right, I’ve cleaned out a lot of my inbox today.  Time to go do something else.


Filed under Los Angeles, Orange, Renie, Riverside, San Bernardino