Q: Hi. I don’t know if you still check this website, but I was wondering if you can tell me about this book (A Child’s Garden of Verses)? Thanks.
A: Your book is part of the Young People’s Library Format 4. You can see it here: http://henryaltemus.com/series/series202F4.htm
This format was published between 1923 and 1933. Originally it came with a dust jacket which matches the book cover. Except for a few special titles (not this one), without a dust jacket most of the books in the format have little value.
Q: I have a copy of Henryk Sienkiewicz’s “Quo Vadis” published by Henry Altemus, copyright 1897. As you can see from the attached photo, it has a picture of a woman praying on the front cover. I have not seen this cover before. Can you tell me anything about this edition?
A: Your book is the second American edition of this title. This was a huge seller for Altemus. I am including a picture of the first edition cover.
Q: I am hoping that you can help. I have attached pictures of a book that was left to me by my mother. It has a handwritten message inside from my grandmother to my mother for Christmas 1909. The book is 148 pages. I’m trying to find out what year it was published. I got lost on your awesome website.
A: Your book is part of the Classics Series. See http://www.henryaltemus.com/series/series69.htm
I would date it in the 1907-1911 range.
It originally came in a box which you can see an example of on the series site.
Q: I did not see this on your website.
A: Your book can be found here: http://henryaltemus.com/series/series99.htm. The Golden Treasury Series was published between 1899 and 1901. There are two formats. Your book is from the first format and was published in 1899.
Q: My name is Emma and I recently bought a book titled “The Fairy Gifts” published by what I believe to be this company, in 1905. I have only been able to find two for sale online both for $89.99, but no information on the book itself. I was inquiring to see if you had any information on whether this book was published by this company and anything about the book at all. I am very interested in anything at all that you can tell me about this book. Also if you have any idea of how much this books is worth. I greatly appreciate any time you take to reply to this message, and any information you have about this book.
A: Your book is part of the Banbury Cross Series. See http://henryaltemus.com/series/series44.htm
Of course, everyone has an opinion – but the likelihood of anyone selling this book especially without the dust jacket for anything close to $89 is zero.
Although it is a nice book, it is not very widely sought after. Generally when the books of this series sell, it is for $15 or less.
One of the important things to note is that anyone can list a book for any price they want. Selling it is a lot tougher. There are lots of outlandish prices on line for Altemus books. These books most often stay unsold over the months and years.
Q: My father passed away and left me some books of which I would like to know if are just copies or originals. The book in question is The Story of Exploration and Discovery of the Frozen Seas. I am attaching some photos of the book showing the cover and the inside page and frontispiece. The frontispiece is different than others I have seen. It says the book was copyright 1896 but I know it could be a later date as well. I am not sure of the format of this book either. I have been reading what I could find on the internet and nothing I have seen tells me if it is original or not so I thought perhaps you could tell me. The last five or six pages of the book list all the publications that are for sale. I also noted the spine says The Frozen Seas while the cover says Exploration and Discovery in the Frozen Seas and the inside page says The Story of Exploration and Discovery in the Frozen Seas. If you could help me by telling me if this book is a genuine original I would be very grateful.
A: Actually your book is in the pictures. It is #14 Later here http://henryaltemus.com/series/series202F3.htm.
It was published after 1902. You can figure out the exact year by following the dating instructions on this page. The date on the title page indicates the copyright and not the date that this particular book was published by Altemus.
This title was first published by Altemus in 1896. The earliest formats can be seen here: http://henryaltemus.com/series/series202F1.htm.
It is therefore a late reprint and has little value.
Although I have seen envelopes with the stamped Altemus return address, I have previously not seen stationery with the Altemus letterhead. Here is an example from 1891.
This letter refers to a potential order from a business in Curwensville. Interestingly below is an invoice/receipt from the Curwensville Bank one month later. Perhaps these two items are related.
The Format 2 books of this 10 book series are much harder to find than the Format 1 books. The difference between the two formats is that the earlier format books have line drawn illustrations on the front cover whereas the later format books have pictorial illustrations. The Format 2 books’ cover illustrations are on a paste-on on the front cover but the Format 1 books’ illustrations are drawn right on the cover.
Here is an example:
Here is a new advertising flyer for this series of fifteen books. The one sheet advertisement which is 9 x 3.25 shows an example of a book cover and lists all of the books.
This series had a number of cover pictures all of which were made from different linen swatches. See http://henryaltemus.com/series/series57.htm.
The books initially came in labeled boxes but later some were issued with dust jackets. Frequently there is confusion between these books and those from the Young People’s Library. This is because the interiors of the books of the same title are identical including the title page which states “Young People’s Library”.
The date of publication can be confusing also since Altemus often put the copyright date on the title page. This series’ books can be dated by studying the ads in the back of the book. The series was published between 1908 and 1926.
Shown below with the flyer are cover, box and dust jacket examples.
Product advertisements in Altemus books are basically unheard of. Leinbach & Bro advertised its clothing store but that was in books that Leinbach gave away.
See: http://henryaltemus.com/ephemera/leinbach.htm. Here is the only example that I know of a product advertisement in an Altemus book. It is bound into the extremely rare 1895 Altemus edition of Baby’s Requirements by Elisabeth Robinson Scovil. The book which is 6.25 x 4.5 has a limp leatherette binding.
As you can see, here is an ad for Ivory Soap. It is placed in the back of the book and there are no other ads present. I cannot explain why this ad is in this book.
There is a chapter on bathing infants in the book but it does not mention Ivory Soap.