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Anyone can list a book on Ebay. Although most people attempt to describe their books accurately, not infrequently the descriptions are incorrect. Unsophisticated buyers may pay much more for the book than it is actually worth. This section will review some of the inaccurate descriptions and give the correction.

 

Click thumbnail images to enlarge.

 

Ebay Description Errors:
Date Series Num Information
28 Aug 2006 163

Sanspareil Series (later numbering)

Ebay description:  1895 Poe's Poems Altemus Small H.C. 1rst edition NR. B 6 1/2" by 4 1/4". Including the Raven. His poems written in youth, and Later poems, ect. Beautiful decorative book, Orange in color with green and chocolate colored flowers.

The Reality:  This is an 1899 edition of this book. It was part of Series #163-Sanspareil Series. This series consists of numerous reprinted works of fiction, poetry, religious books etc. Poe's Poems was a reprint even when Altemus came out with their first reprinted edition of it in 1895 as part of the Vademecum Series (#179).


15 Aug 2006 179

Vademecum Series

Ebay description:  This book is titled The Vicar of Wakefield written by Oliver Goldsmith. It is a first edition published in 1894 by Henry Altemus.

The Reality:  Only a modicum of research would have told the seller that the first edition was published more than 200 years prior to this 1894 edition which was found in the Vademecum Series. Actually, this is not even the first Altemus edition. That book is in the Altemus Library published in 1892. (See bibliography)


14 Aug 2006 2

Annapolis Series

Ebay description:  Dave Darrin's Third Year At Annapolis by H. Hancock First Edition/First Print Altemus' 1911

The Reality:  The first edition has red lettering. It does have the same cover though. I cannot determine what date this book was published without a look at the spine, ads and/or jacket.


14 Aug 2006 9

College Girls Series

Ebay description:  The book is first edition. All pages 1-256. The book is written by Jessie Graham, A.M. Author The High School Girls Series, The Girls Series, etc. and the book was published by Henry altemus company.

The Reality:  The applique (paste-on) covers were not seen on the juvenile series books until 1926. This book was first published in 1915. The first edition had a line drawn picture on the front cover. See bibliography.


14 Aug 2006 59

Boys and Girls Own Library

Ebay description:  This compact Henry Altemus Company version is preceded only by the very rare copyright & 1st editions.

The Reality:  This book was part of the Boys and Girl's Own Library Series (#59) first published in 1909. There are hundreds of editions (including at least 15 Altemus ones) that were published between the first edition and this one. Note that the format of this book is extremely similar to the earlier Series #58 Boys and Girls Classics (old). The difference is that within the gold rectangles of the latter series there is a gold gilt pattern.


14 Aug 2006 179

Vademecum Series

Ebay description:  AN ANTIQUE 1984 1ST EDITION OF THE FAMOUS HARRIET BECHER STOWE'S "UNCLE TOM'S CABIN..."UNCLE TOM'S CABIN" LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY, WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY W.S. WALSH, PHILIDELPHIA, HENRY ALTEMUS ...THIS IS A MUST FOR THE AVID ANTIQUE BOOK COLLECTOR

The Reality:  Not quite a must for the antique book collector. The first edition was published in 1852 by John Jewett and Co. Subsequently 100s of reprints were published including this 1895 edition from the Vademecum series of reprints.


14 Aug 2006 202

Young People's Library

Ebay description:  Up for auction is this extremely collectible antique book, Flower Fables, by Louisa M. Alcott. I believe that this is a first edition as there is no indication that it would not be. Title page reads: Altemus' Young People's Library, FLOWER FABLES by LOUISA MAY ALCOTT, "Pondering shadows, colors, clouds, grass-buds, and caterpillar shrouds, boughs on which the wild bees settle, tints that spot the violet's petal" - Emerson's Wood Notes. With thirty-four illustrations, copyright 1898 by Henry Altemus

The Reality:  Really an inexcusable comment about a first edition. The simplest research would tell the seller that the first dated from the 1850s (George W. Briggs 1855). This book at its earliest was published in 1901-02 as part of the third format of the Young People's Library-Format 3.


03 Aug 2006 202

Young People's Library

Ebay description:  THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Lewis Carroll (1897) 1st Ed.
The title of this book is Through the Looking Glass And what Alice Found There. It was written in 1897 by Lewis Carroll, and published by the Henry Altemus company of Philadelphia.


The Reality:  There are two blunders in this description. First, based upon the spine this is a Young People's Library ( Series #202) 2nd format book which at its earliest was published in 1898. Much more significant is that the first edition was not printed by Henry Altemus. Rather it was published by Macmillan in 1872. Altemus only did reprints of Lewis Carroll's books.


28 Jul 2006 79

Esperance Series

Ebay description:  For auction is a book by Phillips Brooks. The book is 27 pages long and was published in 1896 by the Henry Altemus Company. The book is 6.5" by 4.5".

The Reality:  This 20 book series of reprints was first published in 1905. It was reprinted until 1909. Again the most common dating mistake is made here. If the title page says Henry Altemus Company, the book dates from 1900 or later.


28 Jul 2006 186

Wee Books for Wee Folks

Ebay description:  1904 ALTEMUS WEE BOOK, FOOLISH FOX, JOHN R. NEILL (OZ) FIRST ALTEMUS EDITION, ALL 22 J. R. NEILL COLOR PLATES!

The Reality:  This is not the 1904 printing of the Foolish Fox which was actually the first edition. Although this book's copyright was 1904, this book is actually a third format book of the Wee Books for Wee Folks Series. The third format began publication in 1918. The dark lettering on the cover did not start until 1921. Thus, this book is at its earliest a 1921 book. The other two formats are quite different. See bibliography.


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