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The following are questions submitted via email by our visitors.

If you have a question about Altemus books that you'd like answered please click on the Questions link at the bottom left of this page.

We recommend that those inquiring about the identification of a particular book format send pictures along with their question.


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Questions & Answers
Date Series Num Information
28 Dec 2015 114

Kipling Series

Q:  Hello, I have a Kipling book: With the Main Guard. It doesn't have a year, but it states Philadelphia: Henry Altemus behind cover. It's a small 65 page book, leather-bound; from the library of Robert W. Speck. What do you think the year is? And perhaps value. Thank you so much.

A:  This Kipling title only appeared in one Altemus series, The Kipling Series. The 21 title series was published in 1899. There is only one format. These small volumes (6.25" x 4.25") are relatively uncommon and dust jacketed books can be considered rare.

A representative book and dust jacket is shown here.

24 Dec 2015

Photo Art Gallery Album

Q:  Good morning. I have one of the "rare" Henry Altemus photo gallery album. It is unused and is in exceptional condition, some foxing.

It is all original. 16 pages 8x10. Spots for photos back to back. It is the one with all the various important figures, presidents, poets, statesmen, etc. around where the photo sits. It has all the index pages, the advertising card that has the lovell advert and how you can use it for cutting to size your cabinet photos.

Can you possibly tell me an estimated value?

A:  I believe you are describing the Photo Art Gallery Album. (http://www.henryaltemus.com/albums/photoalbums.htm)

This scarce album was copyrighted by Altemus in 1888 but published by the Lovell Manufacturing Company in Erie, Pennsylvania.

My edition is the same as yours in that it is 8" x 10" and has 16 pages. Each page can hold one cabinet card on the front and one on the back.

As can be seen in a sample page shown here, every page has a certain category, i. e. president's page, author's page, etc.

In good condition this album certainly is worth roughly $150.

19 Dec 2015 180

Vademecum Series

Q:  Hi there,
Would you be able to identify this book, please? I couldn’t find it in any edition on your web site. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Kind regards

A:  Your book is part of the Vademecum Series and was published in 1908.

It is a reprint as are all of the titles in this long running publisher's series.

It originally came within a labeled box. See here.

15 Dec 2015 164

Shakespeare's Plays

Q:  Hello, A while back I purchased about a dozen of these small books, all of them the works of Shakespeare. This is one of them. Will you be able to tell me how much they are worth approximately or at least a range depending on the quality of each book? They are all in pretty good shape, but not mint. I do not know what year they were published. A woman wrote her name in them with the year 1906 written next to her name. Please find attached four photos of the book.

A:  This book belongs to Series 164 Shakespeare's Plays. These ubiquitous little books must have been some of Altemus' best sellers as I am frequently asked about them. There are 39 different titles in the group and some were sold within large boxed sets. See here.
These books were sold between 1899 and 1933 in as many as eight different formats. Your book appears to be from Format 5 or 7. You can figure this out by looking at the website and noting the subtle differences. (end papers, glossy title page, etc.)

Your book originally had a dust jacket. Shown here.
These books have little value and most often sell for a dollar or two apiece or go unsold altogether.

13 Dec 2015 179

Vademecum Series

Q:  I have been stumped by a Henry Altemus book for several months now. I hate to admit defeat but I am now doing just that.

The Dimensions are 4 1 inches by 6 1/4 inches. No dust jacket or box. The cover is a dark blue material which is ribbed. Almost feels like a thin vinyl. In the center of the front cover is an oval shape where the ribbing is present. In the center of the oval shape it reads: The Sketch Book. Stemmed flowers (maybe pansies) fill in the rest of the cover. The stems near the bottom of the cover have leaves and three of the flowers extend into the bottom of the oval shape. The spine has the same pattern of flowers and in the center of the spine it reads "Irving". Near the top of the spine it reads "The Sketch Book". If there was a title page it is gone. The first page with any printing has a type of crest and in the center in red letters it reads "Idylls of the King. Alfred Lord Tennyson". At the bottom of the crest, set at an angle on each side it reads "Henry Altemus" on the left banner and "Philadelphia" on the right.

Two blank pages then the next page with printing contains a green scrolling around the sides of the page. In the center it reads "The Vicar of Wakefield Oliver Goldsmith" in red letters. At the bottom of the page it reads "Philadelphia" then below that Henry Altemus contained within a banner. The next pages contain an introduction with the date October 1877 and only the initials A.A. Then comes a table of contents listing 20 of Shakespears Plays which follow after a preface.
All lettering and design on the spine and cover was done in gold gilt.
The book ends with Othello and there are not any more pages following.
I would appreciate any information.

A:  Your book is from the Vademecum Series and was published in 1896. It originally came within a labeled box.

This is one of the more uncommon formats in this series. I have included in this entry a better picture of another title from this series here.

It is a reprint as are all of the titles in this series.

28 Nov 2015 202

Young People's Library, Format 1

Q:  Your web page is fascinating!

I have the following book. I am less interested in getting money for it, more interested in getting it to someone who could use it. If you have any idea of how to do that I would love to know. Based on the Q&A on your page, I suspect it has a pretty small audience.

A Child's Life of Christ 208 pages.
Series 202 Young peoples Library
Spine Format 1

Blank first page (stuff written in red pen)
Second page blank on front with picture of Jesus on the flip side

I have included pictures of the Cover, Title, and Copyright pages. I think it is probably the 1897/1898 version if I followed your descriptions correctly.

4 pages of ads in the back starting with Robinson Crusoe, ending with Grandfather's Chair.

A:  As you guessed, there is very little interest in this book. You could list it on Ebay with a low price and see if anyone wants it. Beyond that I have no suggestions.

26 Nov 2015 202

Young People's Library

Q:  I've got a question which may be either specific or general; I don't know. I'm looking at the Altemus edition of Black Beauty from, I think, 1902 (from scans at The Internet Archive, not the physical book), though the ads at the front confuse us by saying "Copyright 1897".

Question: Was there an Altemus house illustrator? Who did the almost-fifty pictures? I can't find an illustrator's name anywhere in the book, but I also don't see any other editions with the same pictures. The cover definitely looks more like 1902 than 1897.

A:  The copyright date is only indicative of when Altemus started publishing this particular version/format. It is not necessarily the publication date.

If you do not have the book, then determining the exact is difficult. With the book in hand it is quite easy.

See: http://www.henryaltemus.com/ypl/index.htm to start.

Altemus generally "borrowed" the pictures it used from other sources.

I have seen several different frontispiece color illustrations in the Black Beauty Books. The internal illustrations appear to be the same between the various Young People Library editions.

Let me know how I can help you further.

23 Nov 2015 186

Wee Books for Wee Folks

Q:  Attached are photos of a Wee Book that I'm interested in selling - inside cover is blue in case it doesn't come through on the photo.
Can you give me some information. Alice Through the Looking Glass

A:  Your book is part of the Wee Books for Wee Folks Series.

The third format (this book) with the appliqué picture on the front cover includes all of the titles in the series. The dust jacket matched the front cover of the book. (shown here)

There were two Alice books. This one and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Both were published in 1926. The blue endpapers were noted between 1923 and 1926.

These are very collectible books and with a dust jacket could sell for as much as $100. Without, $10-50 is not unreasonable.

This book is much scarcer that the Young People's Library formats of the same title which are frequently listed for more than $100. (Although they seldom sell for more than a fraction of the listing price).

21 Nov 2015 179

Vademecum Series

Q:  I've got a Copy of 'Tales From Shakespeare' by Lamb that doesn't fit the websites information. I would just like to know the actual publication date.

A:  This book was published in 1896 as part of the Vademecum Series.

It is clearly shown on the website at http://www.henryaltemus.com/series/series179.htm.

The titles in this series are all reprints and originally were sold within a labeled box. Other color covers have been seen. See here.

19 Nov 2015 47

Beauxarts Series

Q:  Please help me understand what I have here thank you I appreciate your time and consideration.

A:  You have a reprint that was published in 1898 as part of the Beauxarts Series.

Most of the volumes in this series have only nominal value. Certain titles (Alice in Wonderland for example) are more widely collected and may bring a bit of a premium.

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Last Revision: April 18, 2018