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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
18 Jan 2008 25

Pony Rider Boys Series

Ebay description:  1910, THE PONY RIDER BOYS in OZARKS, Frank Gee Patchin

Printing Year: 1910

Description

THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN THE OZARKS or The Secret of Ruby Mountain by Frank Gee Patchin

Illustrated frontispiece and three plates with black and white drawings

Published by Henry Altemus Company, Philadelphia, copyright 1910, no other date. Hardcover blue cloth binding with pastedown illustration of two Pony Rider Boys; 252 pages plus 16 pages of book advertising, 5" x 7 1/2".


The Reality:  This book is a third format style in this series. The applique covers were first printed in 1924. Thus, that is the earliest date for this book. See: http://henryaltemus.com/series/series25.htm for more information.

By the way, the starting price of 24.50 for this late edition without a jacket is way out of line. A couple of bucks would be more like it.


17 Jan 2008 57

Boys and Girls Classics Series

Ebay description:  Black Beauty by Anna Sewell c.1897 with 50 illustrations

The earliest black beauty I have ever seen, and I have seen a few. 1897 copy Black Beauty, the autobiography of a horse. by Anna Sewell with 50 illustrations. 1 color the rest in black, copyright 1897 by Henry Altemus Philadelphia. Hard cover in ok condition, binding good, pages good, 250 pages, low starting bid, really early for this book.


The Reality:  This book is from the Boys and Girls Classics Series which was a 15 book series published first in 1908 and reprinted for many years later. The books of this series used the earlier plates from the Altemus Young People's Library. This seller confuses the copyright date which is on the title page with the publication date. If the seller studied the ads in the back of the book, the date of the book would have been obvious.

The linen covers of this series varied and many patterns have been seen. The books originally came within a labeled floral decorated box.


11 Jan 2008 202

Young People's Library Format 2 (and 1)

Ebay description:  EXPLORATION & DISCOVERY IN THE FROZEN SEAS/1896/RARE!!
1ST ED/ALTEMUS YOUNG PEOPLE' LIBRARY/NEW IN SERIES 1896

PRINTED IN 1896 BY THE HENRY ALTEMUS COMPANY AS A NEW EDITION TO ITS YOUNG PEOPLE'S LIBRARY SERIES. WRITTEN BY PRESTON HOLMES WITH ENGRAVINGS TAKEN FROM PHOTOGRAPHS AND ART WORK DONE ESPECIALLY FOR THIS VOLUME.

EMBOSSED PICTORIAL COVER DEPICTING ESKIMO IN KAYAK. SPINE TITLE READS: THE FROZEN SEAS. NO DJ, AND I COULD NOT FIND ANY COPIES OF THIS BOOK THAT SAID IT ONCE HAD ONE -- ALL THREE OF THE COPIES I DID FIND INDICATE IT WAS JACKETLESS, "AS ISSUED." SIZE IS APPROX. 6" X 7" VERTICAL FORMAT. COLOR FRONTISPIECE, 80 ILLUSTRATIONS. I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO MENTION THE ART NOUVEAU FLORAL EMBOSSED SPINE WHICH INDICATES "FORMAT 2" BUT DOES NOT STOP THIS FROM BEING A FIRST EDITION, AS IT HAS ALL THE OTHER EARMARKS: ILLUSTRATED END PAPERS FRONT AND BACK, AND THE FULL "HENRY ALTEMUS COMPANY" PUBLISHER'S LINE ON THE TITLE PAGE. THESE ARE NOT PRESENT IN TRUE SECOND EDITIONS. I BELIEVE THE SPINE IS "FORMAT 2" BECAUSE THAT WAS THE FORMAT BEING USED WHEN THIS BOOK WAS PRINTED.

254 TEXT PAGES PLUS 20 PAGES OF ADVERTISING FOR OTHER ALTEMUS PUBLICATIONS. NOTE THIS BOOK IS NOT YET LISTED IN THE YOUNG PEOPLE'S LIBRARY SERIES...WHICH, ALONG WITH THE ALTEMUS COPYRIGHT LINE ON THE TITLE PAGE, LEADS TO THE ASSUMPTION THAT THIS IS INDEED A FIRST EDITION.


The Reality:  This seller has argued with me about why this book is really a first edition and published in 1896.

Here is why this seller is wrong.

This book was published first in 1896 as part of the First Format of the Young People's Library. Since Altemus incorporated in 1900, any book with the imprint of Henry Altemus Company was published in 1900 or later.
The true first showing the 1896 date and the imprint of Henry Altemus is shown below. The second printing of the First Format in 1897 (title page shown below) differed from the 1896 printing by the addition of 8 more pages of text,the author's name on the title page and a new frontispiece. All editions from this 1897 one on are identical in content.

The seller also makes the claim that their book was not issued with a dust jacket. All format 2 books had jackets. Here is this one's.

Finally just for interest sake, this seller's frontispiece is a late Format 2 frontispiece. Included here is the first edition (1896) frontispiece and the one used from 1897 until the seller's book was published-probably in 1902. From 1897 until 1901 the explorer had a red suit. In 1902 in the seller's book, the explorer's outfit was brown.


25 Nov 2007 202

Young People's Library - Format 4

Ebay description:  1899. 1st THUS ROBINSON CRUSOE, DANIEL DEFOE ILLUSTRATED

FIRST EDITION
1899


The Reality:  By the time Altemus published this book in the 1920s as part of the 4th format in the Young People's Library, this title had been published by him numerous times.

The first time was in 1895 in the first format of the Young People's Library. That book is pictured here.


07 Nov 2007 202

Young People's Library

Ebay description:  1897 ALICE in WONDERLAND & LOOKING GLASS, ALTEMUS FIRST
MATCHED PAIR FIRST PRINTINGS, 4 COLOR PLATES

CARROLL'S CLASSICS, in Two Volumes, Published by Altemus (Philadelphia), both with Publication date of 1897 on Two Color Title Page. Hardcovers, 5" x 7", Complete in 183pp & 211p respectively inches. In Color Illustrated Cloth Bindings. BOTH FIRST ALTEMUS PRINTINGS, with All 4 Color Plates (Later Printings have on the Color Frontis)!


The Reality:  Over and over again novice booksellers (although this is a bookseller who claims not be a novice) claim that these Carroll Altemus editions are the first Altemus did.
These are later Altemus reprints. First note the title page. It clearly says Henry Altemus Company. Thus, these books were published after Henry Altemus incorporated which dates them at 1900 or later. The seller does not provide us with the back of the book ads which list many post-1897 books. Also appreciate that Altemus first published these titles in 1895 as part of the first format of the Young People's Library. These books are pictured below.


04 Nov 2007 105

Holly Tree Series

Ebay description:  A MODERN CINDERELLA BY LOUISA ALCOTT 1904 FIRST EDITION

The Reality:  This is the second format of this book. Below is a picture of the actual first edition. For more information about this series see: http://henryaltemus.com/series/series105.htm
The $100 opening bid price is somewhat north of outrageous.


03 Nov 2007 167

Standard 12 mos.

Ebay description:  TALES FROM SHAKESPEARE CHARLES LAMB 1895 HC 1ST EDIT ?

THIS AUCTION IS FOR ONE BOOK TITLED ~ TALES FROM SHAKESPEARE BY CHARLES AND MARY LAMB WITH ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS. HENRY ALTEMUS 1895. COPYRIGHTED 1895 BY HENRY ALTEMUS. BELIEVE THIS IS A FIRST EDITION SINCE THE SAME DATE IS ON THE TITLE PAGE AND COPYRIGHT PAGE.


The Reality:  This 1895 edition is not even the first Altemus publication of this title. Altemus first published this title in 1892 as part of the Altemus Library (Series #37). See below:

Charles Lamb died in 1834 and his book was published by numerous publishers before 1892.


03 Nov 2007 202

Young People's Library - Format 3

Ebay description:  SINBAD Aladdin ALI BABA Horse ARABIA 1st Ed 1899 xRARE

Henry Altemus Comany, Philadelphia [PA - USA]
1899
Special Attributes: 1st Edition


The Reality:  Not a first edition or even the first Altemus publication. This book is from the third format of the Young People's Library. This format was first published in 1902. See: http://henryaltemus.com/series/series202F3.htm
This title was first published by Altemus in 1897 in the first format of this series. This picture is shown below:
The Arabian Nights was published numerous times by multiple other publishers prior to the earliest Altemus printing.


24 Oct 2007 3

Automobile Girls Series

Ebay description:  RARE Laura Dent Crane " Automobile Girls At Wash. "1913

Description
Special Attributes: 1st Edition
Printing Year: 1913

Full title:" The Automobile Girls At Washingtong Or Checkmating The Plots Of Foreign Spies " by Laura Dent Crane. Henry Altemus Company 1913. First Edition I believe. Illustrated with one plate illustration with caption opposite the title page. Nice color plate illustration by Walt Hayn on the front cover. 253 pages not counting 16 pages of ads for other Altemus series books at the end. Scarce book. One in the "Automobile Girls" series. I don't know if it was issued with a dustjacket or not.


The Reality:  The applique (paste-on) covers were not used on Altemus series books until 1926. All series books came jacketed. So, clearly not a first edition. This book has been seen in three formats and this book is part of the third and last format. The dust jacket format (which matches the book cover) is shown here. For more information see: http://henryaltemus.com/series/series3.htm


22 Oct 2007 171

Stories We Love Series

Ebay description:  OLD COLLECTOR'S THE SKETCH BOOK WASHINGTON IRVING 1848

UP FOR BID IS THIS WONDERFUL OLD LEATHER BOUND EDITION OF "THE SKETCH BOOK" BY WASHINGTON IRVING. THIS IS THE 1848 REVISED EDITION, PUBLISHED BY THE HENRY ALTEMUS COMPANY. HE TELLS OF HIS DIFFICULTIES IN GETTING THIS VOLUME PUBLISHED IN ENGLAND IN "THE PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION". AFTER TELLING OF HIS MANY SET BACKS HE INLISTS THE HELP OF SIR WALTER SCOTT TO GET HIS BOOK PUBLISHED. THE VOLUME HAS 33 OF HIS BEST STORIES INCLUDING "RIP VAN WINKLE".


The Reality:  This book is from the 10 volume Stories We Love Series published between 1912-1916. I suspect that this seller is using the date from the preface to date his book. This is an unfortunately common mistake. Many novice book sellers do not realize that the reprint publishers like Altemus reprinted the books in totality- including the early prefaces to the original editions. So they see a dated preface and assume that that is the date of their book's publication.


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