If there were an Ebay book police patrol, they would be incredibly busy just with the Altemus listings. As this Altemus blog continues, I will try to only post the most outrageous examples. As previously compiled approximately 40% of Altemus book listings have a significant error (most commonly date of publication or edition error).
This particular book listed by the seller is often described incorrectly and frequently overpriced.
The seller headlines his ad with this:
ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND-1897-L. CARROLL-NF-
PREVIOUSLY MUSEUM OWNED ITEM WITH PROVIDENCE
I won’t quibble that he probably means provenance (a record of the ownership of the book) rather than Providence (A city in Rhode Island or the protective care of God)
Special Attributes: 1st Edition
Printing Year: 1897
Buy It Now price: US $349.99
A quick glance at the book tells us a couple of things. First it is definitely a Young People’s Library (YPL) book- Format 3. You can tell by the spine design. There are 4 different formats in the YPL, each with a characteristic spine. They can be seen here: http://henryaltemus.com/series/series202.htm.
Format 3 books were published between 1902-1923. (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series202F3.htm) But remember, even if you do not know about this series, remember the ﬁrst rule of dating Henry Altemus books. Henry Altemus incorporated in 1900 to become Henry Altemus Company. If the book has Henry Altemus Company on the title page-it has to date from 1900 or later.
Also appreciate that on this book’s title page it lists 1897 as the copyright date. The copyright date is not necessarily the publication date. This is a very frequent error made by sellers looking for rarity based on early dating.
Altemus ﬁrst published this title in 1895. The book advertised here used the plates from Altemus’ 1897 edition- thus the 1897 copyright. Of course the title was ﬁrst published in the mid-19th century. Prior to publication of this Format 3 Alice in Wonderland, Altemus published the Format 1 book from 1895-1898. Then it published two different Format 2 (1898-1902) books-the latter of which has the same cover as our seller’s book here-but with the characteristic Format 2 spine. Generally without a dust jacket because this book is very common, a buyer should just not pay more than $15-20. The $349 price is beyond bizarre.
Format 2 spines
Thus what we have here is an incorrect description in terms of date and edition with a asking price 20 times the value. Not to be remiss the seller does provide papers that indicate that this book was part of an estate. Of course, the value added in this instance is zero.