This is a very rare Altemus advertising cover from 1890. In 1889 Altemus published the six titles of the Dore’s Masterpieces Series. (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series78.htm). All six oversized volumes were published until 1903 in a number of different formats. Because of the beautiful Gustave Dore illustrations, these books are always in great demand and sell for a premium.
This advertising cover pictures Format 1- Volume 1 in the series. The other books are listed at the top of the envelope. Die Dore Bibel Gallerie is a German translation of Volume #1 and was included in this series beginning in 1892. (Thus, at that point there were seven titles in the series.)
In my opinion this is one of the rarest pieces of Altemus ephemera.
Q: I have a copy of Black Beauty published by Henry Altemus Company. Unfortunately, someone ripped out the copyright page so I have no idea about the history of it. Attached is a picture of the front of the book. Thanks for your time.
A: This book was published in 1901-1902. It is part of the Petit Trianon Series.
For more information see http://henryaltemus.com/series/series143.htm
It is an interesting book because of its cover. The artwork was done by Alphonse Mucha who was a famous Czech painter. This painting is called Lady with a Rose. You may wonder where the rose is. Well, when the Altemus artists modified the picture, they replaced the rose with a book.
Artistic license I suppose.
For more about Mucha and Altemus see http://henryaltemus.com/artists/artists-Mucha.htm
Unfortunately in this shape it only has nominal value.
Q: Can you identify this book?…It was the Courtship of Miles Standish that is the Altemus book.
A: Your book is part of the Vademecum Series. See http://henryaltemus.com/vademecum.htm. It is a 1907 publication.
The picture is #17 which is shown in the picture section on the page above. There are more than 40 pictures that Altemus used with this cover.
They were said to be European paintings. Unfortunately I have been unable to determine the original artists.
Most of the books in this series have very little value. The titles are not widely collected and the they are reprints.
Q: I am very interested in obtaining more information on this book. The copyright date is 1899. I did not find this book front format in your listed designs. Thank you very much.
A: This book is part of the Beauxarts Series. This publisher’s series of reprints was printed between 1897 and 1902. During this time frame there were four different covers. Your cover was published between 1899 and 1901. I have seen five different colors with this decorative pattern.
As with all of this series’ books, it is a reprint. Nonetheless, many Dickens’ collectors are interested in these decorative books. Thus, the value would be quite unpredictable.
Q: I would like to get some more info on this book please (The Raven and Other Poems by Edgar Allan Poe).
A: See http://henryaltemus.com/series/series179.htm for more information.
This book is part of the Vademecum Series. This series includes various reprints of fiction, essays, poetry, etc.
Your book is a reprint and published in 1894-1895.
This book only has nominal value.
Q: Hello, I was given this book (Poe’s Poems) and it has no date or anything, but it reads henry altemus company after a few blank pages. Curious about it. Thank you.
A: You can find your book’s format here: http://henryaltemus.com/series/series69.htm
It is part of the 76 volume Classics Series. This series of reprints originally was published with a dust jacket.
This is a 1907-1908 book.
It only has nominal value.
The Peter Rabbit Series (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series189.htm) is a 20 book series. Books 5-8 were published in 1921 and thereafter the rest of the books were printed on an almost yearly basis. By looking at the ads in the back of the books most of these volumes (#5-20) can be dated fairly easily. The same cannot be said of volumes 1-4.
1. Tale of Peter Rabbit
2. How Peter Rabbit Went to Sea
3. Peter Rabbit on the Farm
4. Peter Rabbit’s Christmas
The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published first in 1904 and was printed in two different formats before it morphed into the Format 3 style books. See http://henryaltemus.com/peter_rabbit/peterrabbit.htm for those details. (This review is not meant to discuss the first and second editions of The Tale of Peter Rabbit published between 1904 and early 1917.)
In 1917 the new Format 3 Wee Books for Wee Folks included the four Peter Rabbit stories. In 1918 the four titles were combined into their own Peter Rabbit Series.
It can be difficult to determine the edition of the first four Peter Rabbit Wee Books if you do not have a dust jacket.
With the dust jacket you can narrow down the dates to 1917-1918, 1918 or later and 1921 or later. I thought I would review some dating issues here.
With the dust jacket dating books becomes easier. The earliest jacket had two Peter Rabbit books listed on the back with the rest of the Wee Books. This is a 1917 (and early 1918) book. This jacket style was published before the Peter Rabbit books were spun off into their own series. I believe that at that time all four Peter Rabbit books were part of the Wee Books series. I have never seen the jacket below however listing four Peter Rabbit’s.
The next jacket lists the first four Peter Rabbit titles on the jacket reverse. This book would be dated between 1918 and 1920. The dust jacket reverse that lists 8 Peter Rabbit’s dates from 1921.
But what if you do not have a dust jacket.
First look at the frontispiece. If it does not say frontispiece under the frontispiece, then it is the very early first edition published in 1917 and early 1918. Also by 1921 all the Peter Rabbit books stated Altemus’ Peter Rabbit Series at the top of the title page.
Secondly note the endpapers. If they are plain, then the book was published between 1917 and 1922.
Next look at the lettering on the front cover. The first four books had yellow (Christmas is red) lettering. These books were published between 1917 and 1920.
Here is one other interesting tip although it does not apply to the pre-1921 Peter Rabbit’s. If your book says Printed in the United States of America at the bottom of the copyright page, then it was published in 1922 or later. There are no exceptions that I am aware of.
Note the examples below.
Distinguishing the earlier from the later editions in this series of ten books can be difficult. The various points are noted at http://henryaltemus.com/series/series132.htm.
A new point of significance has been determined. The very earliest books have a spine title that reads from bottom to top. Here is a brief review on dating these books.
1. The first editions of the first six books only list six books in the ads. These books were published in 1908. Books 7-10 were published in 1909. Here is an example of the earliest advertising pages.
1909 and later
Here is the first edition dust jacket
2. The second printing lists all ten books at 50 cents in both the front ads and on the jacket reverse. The dust jacket is brown and uncoated. (Pre-1915)
3. The third printing is the same as #2 but the dust jacket is white and coated.
4. A variant of this edition has green lettering on the dust jacket reverse.
5. The fourth printing has 50 cent ads in the front of the book but $1.00 ads on the reverse of the dust jacket.
6. The fifth printing of the First Edition lists $1.00 in the front ads and does says “Printed in the United States of America” at the bottom of the copyright/ad page. This indicates a post-1922 publication.
7. The second edition has paste-on pictures on the front cover with new pictorial book appropriate illustrations. On the bottom of the copyright page it says “Printed in the United States of America”. (This indicates a post-1922 printing.) Two formats of this later edition exist. The earlier one has $1.00 as the price listed on the back of the dust jacket. The later book has no price listed.
The two books of this series were written by Carolyn Wells (1862-1942). Wells was a prolific author who wrote more than 150 books. Her only Henry Altemus published titles were the two Folly books.
Here is an autographed copy of Folly in Fairyland. This book along with its partner Folly in the Forest was published in two series. The Folly Series (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series89.htm) and the Little Men and Women Series (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series125.htm).
This book is from the Folly Series. Folly in Fairyland was published in 1901 and joined Folly in the Forest in 1902 to complete the two volume Folly Series. The 1901 copies of Folly in Fairyland had illustrated and glossy endpapers. By 1902 the endpaper illustrations were gone but the thick glossy paper for the endpapers and book illustrations remained. Later books had plain paper endpapers and thin glossy pages for the book’s illustrations.
The book below has thin glossy paper illustration pages, no endpaper illustrations and the endpapers are on plain paper. It was published in the early 1900′s (1903-1906).
Q: I looked through the series numbers I saw you’d recommended for copies of The Scarlet Letter and didn’t see any covers similar to this one (though I might have missed it). Might you be able to identify this copy? Just curious as to when it was published. The picture in the third photograph was copyrighted in 1899, so I know it was sometime after that.
A: This cover format was published in 1902 as part of the Vademecum Series. This series consisted of reprints of various works of fiction, poetry, essays, etc. Any one of more than forty paintings could possibly be seen within the gold gilt on the cover.
For all the different possibilities see http://henryaltemus.com/vademecum.htm.