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The following are questions submitted via email by our visitors.

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Questions & Answers
Date Series Num Information
01 Aug 2006 180

Vademecum Series

Q:  Greetings, I found a great condition copy of Marmion by Sir Walter Scott and it seems very old. In the back it lists a lot of other books from this company. Is there any way to find out its age? Also is it a part of a series.

A:  Your book is part of the Vademecum Series and was published in 1908. This multi volumed, multi authored series of reprints was published between 1894 and 1926. Every year or two the cover changed. It originally was boxed. Your book is very nice but has very little value. The exception would be if there is a collector of the author or particular title.


29 Jul 2006 202

Young People's Library

Q:  Would you be so kind as to tell me if I have a treasure or not. It is an Altemus book entitled A Child's Story of the Bible copyright 1895.

It is personally inscribed: 1896.

It does not have a loose cover..it doesn't look like it ever had one as the hard cover is beautifully done with colors of red and green with much silver ornamentation. The cover depicts Moses in the rushes being found by a Noble Woman and her slaves.


A:  I am going to assume that the book you have is the one I have pictured here. This book is part of The Young People's Library. (Series #202) Although a very nice book, it has little value to collectors. Unfortunately it is neither rare nor special.

You never know of course what a person might pay for a book but you would have to be quite lucky to sell it for more than a nominal price.


22 Jul 2006 202

Young People's Library

Q:  I have the book "Lives of the Presidents of the United States" copyright 1896 by Henry Altemus, Philadelphia. Can you tell me if this book is rare or what the value of it is? Thanks.

A:  The Lives of the Presidents was published in several different formats from 1896 until 1911. Mostly as part of the Young People's Library but also was part of the Favorite Series and Abbott's Historical Series.

This book has a very interesting history. I am familiar with 4 variant formats. As opposed to many books in this series, these books actually change their content based on the year of publication. In other words the newer books list newer presidents. The format 1 book that I have seen lists up to William McKinley who became president in 1897. Even though this book was copyrighted in 1896, I have not seen a book which lists only up to Grover Cleveland who was president before McKinley (in 1896).

The first of the two format 2 books lists not only up to McKinley also but expand his biography in the text of the book from about one page to more than 10 pages. These 10 pages include the events of his presidency (Spanish American War). The format 1 book was clearly published just after he took office so no events had taken place. It changes the copyright to 1896 and 1898.

The later format 2 book was published later (new copyright is 1899) and includes Theodore Roosevelt in the listings (succeeded to the presidency after the assassination of McKinley in 1900). It also includes a short biography on Roosevelt including events of 1901.

My format 3 book (copyrighted in 1899) lists up to William Taft who took office in 1909. This book as with many books in this series lists the 1899 copyright on the title page. This can be confusing but it does not indicate the publication date.

There are other differences between the formats including expanded biographies, lengthened prefaces etc.

This title was deleted from the series in 1911.

The book without a dust jacket has only nominal value. Although I have seen it sold for $20 or so, this would be unusual. With a jacket maybe up to twice that amount depending on condition. The earlier books are more valuable. You can date your book rather easily by the title page if the date is at the bottom. Also, some of the books have a listing of presidents on the last page. That can help date it. If not, the spine design also is helpful. If you would like, send me a pic of the spine and I can date, within a range, your book's date.


19 Jul 2006 186

Wee Books for Wee Folks

Q:  I have a book..... was just wondering what it is worth. I can't find the exact title on your website. The book is Piffle's ABC Book of Funny Animals, Copyright 1919 By the Howard E. Altemus Company in Philadelphia. Thank you for your help.

A:  Your book was part of the Wee Books for Wee Folk Series. It was first published in 1919 and came with a dust jacket. The earliest books until 1920 had yellow lettering on the cover.
This book has minimal value although I am surprised at times what books sell for. It is not noted on the website not because of scarcity but rather because the website only covers Altemus information not included in the bibliography.


14 Jul 2006 75

Devotional Series

Q:  I have recently come across a copy of Throne of Grace. Unfortunately, I am having a hard time finding information on this particular copy. Can you, please, take a look at this picture and give me a few details?

A:  Your book is part of the Devotional Series. This series of religious reprints consisted of at most 52 books. Different covers and different titles were published yearly beginning in 1895. This cover format was published between 1905-1908. These books are relatively common. Originally they came with boxes.


10 Jul 2006 180

Vademecum Series - Later numbering

Q:  a copy of Emerson's essays ...... It was published by Henry Altemus, copyright 1899, and had "first edition" apparently stamped(?) on the title page, (the different font and ink color led me to believe it was applied after the initial printing/binding). The cover is a plain brown with some embossed flowers which appear to have had some color at some point in time. A hand-written inscription on the first page showed that the book had been given as a Christmas gift - also in 1899. ... Can you tell me any more about this book?

A:  Your book was part of the Vademecum Series. This series was published from 1894-1926. It consisted of numerous reprints-fiction, non fiction, poetry, religious etc. The cover format changed more than 30 times. Some years there might be as many as three different formats of the same title within this series. At its peak it consisted of 187 books.

Your book was published in 1899. The cover decoration of this format came in many different colors. I am enclosing a blue cover for your interest. Altemus did the Emerson title in at least 21 series beginning in 1892.


30 Jun 2006 146

Poems We Love

Q:  I have a small green leather-bound book copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, published by Henry Altemus Co but without a publishing date. The leather green except around the edges where it is slightly worn, and turned brownish. The title letters are in gold and there is a gold lyre printed on the cover. The tops of the pages are beautifully gilt in gold and in marvelous condition. The pages have not been cut apart and so the outer edges of the pages are uneven. Is this a printer's proof? It seems unlikely it would have been gilt. More likely, it has just not been fully cut.
Any idea of its value? Any other information you could give me about this beautiful book? Date??


A:  I believe that you have a book from the 10 book series- Poems We Love Series (#146) published in 1912 and reprinted until 1915. The books are occasionally found without page separation. These volumes are seen frequently and although you never know what someone will pay for something, they have little collector value. The exception would be if you had the box that the book came in originally.

I am enclosing a picture of the book format which I think you are describing.


30 Jun 2006 179

Vademecum Series (early numbering)

Q:  I'm just curious about anything you could tell me about this book. Its dated 1894, and lists 3 other books as being by Hawthorne, but I have no other information aside from the publishers (obviously). I recently purchased it for a couple dollars at a flea market. I can send a picture if that would help.

A:  Your book is part of the Vademecum Series (Series #179). This series was published between 1894 and 1926. At its peak it included 187 books all of which were reprints-fiction, nonfiction, essays, poetry etc. This multi volume, multi authored series generally changed the included volumes as well as the covers yearly for the first number of years and every few years later on. These books originally came with a box.


30 Jun 2006 180

Vademecum Series (later numbering)

Q:  I bought this book at a Goodwill yesterday and I was trying to find the year that this was published. This is the only information on the book and it is 634 pages long. Pleas send me any information on this book if you have any.

A:  Your book is part of the Vademecum Series (#180). It was published in 1902.


30 Jun 2006 180

Vademecum Series (later numbering)

Q:  I hope you can help me. I have Treasure Island, 271 pages, the 1st says "To The Hesitating Purchaser . . .", and the 2nd says "TO S. L. O., . . . . by his affectionate friend, THE AUTHOR". The book lists other Henry Altemus Company publications in the back. I'm trying to determine when this was published and the value.

A:  Your book is part of the Vademecum Series (Series #180). This was a set of books which was multi authored and consisted of many titles. Your book was published in the mid teens or later. Originally it had gold gilt on the cover which apparently has worn off over the years. The book also came with a jacket.

Without a jacket in subpar condition I do not think the book has any more than nominal value. It is relatively common.


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