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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
21 Oct 2007 74

Dainty Series


This childrens book, Young Robin Hood, appears to be a first printing copyright of 1900. Published by Henry Altemus Co. and written by G. Manville Fenn. This 104 year old book measures 8 3/8 inches by 6 3/8 inches.

The Reality:  The book that is being sold here with the illuminated pictorial picture of the little boy is really from the third format of this series published between 1903 and 1905. The floral decorated books were the earliest Dainty Series books published between 1899-1902. See: http://henryaltemus.com/series/series74.htm

12 Oct 2007 180

Vademecum Series

Ebay description:  Old Christmas [From the Sketch Book of Washington Irving]
Irving, Washington

Book Description: Henry Altemus Company, Philadelphia, 1880. Binding is Hard Cover. Undated, ca. 1880. Christmas excerpt from Washington's Sketch Book, illustrated with small engravings throughout,

The Reality:  This is a 1900 published book. Regardless if you can identify the cover or not, the fact that Henry Altemus Company published this book makes it a 1900 or later printed volume. (The book pictured is not the book advertised although the cover and date are the same. This cover was substituted for the seller's book cover for the sake of clarity.)

11 Oct 2007 19

High School Girls Series

Ebay description:  Grace Harlowe's Plebe Year @ High School W/DJ CR 1910

Grace Harlowe's Plebe Year at High School W/ DJ or The Merry Doings of the Oakdale Freshmen Girls by Jessie Graham Flower, Illustrated. Published by Henry Altemus Co. CR 1910 I think this is a First Edition.

Special Attributes: 1st Edition

Printing Year: 1910

The Reality:  Just from looking at the dust jacket it can be determined that this book is a later reprint and not a first edition.

The white coated jackets replaced the brown uncoated jackets in 1914. In addition the first jacket had a different illustration.
See: http://henryaltemus.com/series/series19.htm

Format 2 Dust Jacket

First Format

11 Oct 2007 105

Holly Tree Series

Ebay description:  1904 HC THE RULE OF THREE Susan Coolidge Embossed Cover

Special Attributes: 1st Edition
Printing Year: 1904

Here is a vintage hard cover book entitled "THE RULE OF THREE" by Susan Coolidge. The book has illustrations by Joseph Johnson Ray, tan cloth boards with and a beautiful color illustrated cover, 3 ladies walking perhaps from a school with red flowers on either side with gilt design. The hard cover book has a beautiful frontspiece (see picture #2) and many black & white illustrations throughout the book.

The Reality:  The seller's book is not a first edition. This book is a second format printing of this title published after 1909. The first format is shown here. For more information on this series see: http://henryaltemus.com/series/series105.htm

Format 2

Format 1

09 Oct 2007 141

Petit Trianon Series

Ebay description:  Cranford Mrs Gaskell Henry Altemus 1st ed hc

Very rare, I am pretty sure 1 edition. PRe 1890, CRANFORD, by Mrs Gaskell, produced by, Henry Altemus, Phildelphia.

The Reality:  This book was published in 1896 as part of the Petit Trianon Series. As with most all of the books in this and in the other Altemus publisher's series, it is a reprint. The American first edition was published by Harper and Brothers in 1853.

07 Oct 2007 48

Beauxarts Series

Ebay description:  1879 Kept For The Masters Use by Frances R Havergal

The Reality:  This is a 1900 published book. Where the 1879 came from is a mystery.

22 Sep 2007 202

Young People's Library, Format 4

Listed is an 1895 publication by Henry Altemus Co of Philadelphia of Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. ...The paste on picture on the cover is faded and is the same picture as the frontispiece. .... It is 6 1/2 by 5 1/4 inches with 287 pages. There is no publication date or copyright date listed. Other sources list the date as 1895.

The Reality:  I am unaware of any sources that claim this to be an 1895 book. Certainly just the fact that this book was published by Henry Altemus Company makes it a post-1900 book. It is part of The Young People's Library (Format 4) and was published in 1923 or later. The ads in the back of the book would also reveal a number of books not published until the early 1920s. This book originally had a jacket.

Since this book lists no copyright date, the dating process if you are unaware of this series, should start with a review of the ads in the back. In this instance, the ads make the earliest possible publication date obvious.

20 Sep 2007 202

Young People's Library - Format 4

Ebay description:  1897 Through The Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll book, 1st

Here's a beautiful copy of THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS AND WHAT ALICE FOUND THERE by Lewis Carroll. Philidelphia printing Henry Altemus Company, first edition.

The Reality:  This book was published after 1923 and is not the Altemus first thus or the true first. It is part of the Young People's Library which published this title from 1895-1933 but this format was not published until 1923 plus as part of the 4th format of this series.

28 Aug 2007 202

Young People's Library - Format 3

With 42 illustrations


As you can see from my listings and feedback, I usually do not sell books and I am not a book expert. I inherited a few books form someone who clearly loved and took very good care of them. All in very good condition.

Sales are considered final unless item is substantially misrepresented. If you have any questions, please email. Or if you require more photos of parts of the book which I did not include, please email and I can take more photos and forward them to you.

The Reality:  This is the ultimate in misrepresentation. This seller acknowledges that he is not a book expert. Yet when he was emailed the reality about his book, he chose not to include the information in his listing. Currently the high bidder is at $81. As usual the bidders are low feedback obviously unsophisticated book people who are relying on inaccurate information from a less than candid seller. This book is worth about $10. It is from the third format of this series published not before 1902. Altemus published a number of Alice books prior to this one. The first edition was printed in the 1860s. This edition is very, very common.

24 Aug 2007 202

Young People's Library - Format 3

1ST Edition by Henry Altemus Philadelphia

The Reality:  This book is part of the Young People's Library -Format 3. This is based on the characteristic spine. It was published no earlier than 1902.

The first Altemus publication of this title was in 1895 in the first format of this series.


This first American edition was published in 1866 by Appleton.

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