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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
06 Nov 2006 133

Mother's Ever New Fairy Tale Series

Ebay description:  1st Ed.1905 Mother's Yellow Fairy Tale Book Children

This antique first edition book of childrens fairy tales is titled: " Mother's Yellow Fairy Tale book - A Third Book of Ever New Fairy Tales and Other Stories For Little Folk " It was arranged by Laura Dent Crane and published in 1905 by the Henry Altemus Company of Philadelphia. I am not a book expert, but from what I have seen on the web this is a hard to find children's book. It is comprised of 256 pages with many (over 100) fine black and white illustrations and 2 color plates.

The Reality:  The stories in this book were first published in the Mother Goose Series (Series #131) by Altemus in 1905 but this compilation of stories was not published in this series until 1911.

See: http://henryaltemus.com/series/series133.htm

06 Nov 2006 143

Petit Trianon Series

Ebay description:  Kept For The Master's Use, By Francis Ridley Havergal, Henry Altemus, 1879!!

160 pages. .... Prefatory note indicates that the author died just after revising the proofs of the book in June 1879, which delayed printing until the fall of 1979. Book measures 6.5" X just under 4.5".

The Reality:  This book was published in 1899 by Henry Altemus. Altemus printed no books for reading before 1889. Numerous publishers produced this book in the 1880s and early 1890s. The prefatory note found in this book is of interest but it is not relevant to when this particular book was published.

03 Nov 2006 125

Little Men and Women Series

Ebay description:  Gypsy the Talking Dog, A Story for Young Folks 1902

Gypsy The Talking Dog, A Story for Young Folks" by Tudor Jenks. Copyright 1902 by Henry Altemus. I believe this is a first edition.. .... The illustrations are in black and white and no one is credited as being the illustrator. The last few pages of this book contains an advertisement for Altemus Books. They state, "The Best and Least Expensive Books for Twentieth Century Boys and Girls." They sold their books for $1.00.

The Reality:  This book was published in the mid to early teens. The illustrations of the early editions were on glossy not plain paper. The ad in the back book was used beginning in 1912-13. Finally, the cover of the 1902 book was colored differently.

02 Nov 2006 69

Classics Series

Ebay description:  Marmion Sir Walter Scott 1808 Pocket Book

Gorgeous little "pocket" book of the poetry of Sir Walter Scott, this is Marmion. Printed in 1808 by Henry Altemus Co. of Philadelphia, it has a wonderful embossed and gilded cover ...

The Reality:  Since Henry Altemus was not born until 1833, it is highly unlikely that the company he founded published this book 25 years before he was born. Actually this book is part of the Classics (Series #69) or the Slip in the Pocket Classics Series (#166)- which it changed its name to in 1909. These series were published between 1907 and 1921. The back ads as well as the jacket or box style would help in telling what year this book was printed in.

20 Oct 2006 149

Popular Manuals

Ebay description:  Old RARE 1873 Book WHAT WOMEN SHOULD KNOW. Great old book, by Mrs. E.B. Duffey, copyright 1873 (with no indication it was published any later than that year) ...Philadelphia: Henry Altemus Co. Special Attributes: 1st Edition

The Reality:  Clearly the Henry Altemus Company publisher name indicates that this book was a post-1900 published book. The seller got the copyright correct just not the publisher. She argues that since the copyright was in 1873 that the book could not have been published later than 1890. Notwithstanding that the book was not originally copyrighted by Altemus, she does not understand that some publishers listed the much earlier copyrights of other publishers on the copyright page.

20 Oct 2006 186

Wee Books for Wee Folks (third format)


The Reality:  This book was published after 1920 as a third format in the Wee Books for Wee Folks Series. I have substituted a picture of my copy with their copy because the condition of their book was so poor.

The fact that this book is listed on the internet (ABE) for $125 is not really very relevant to its value. A listing price should not be confused with a "selling" price. Actually listings for this book on ABE range from $4.00 to $125. with the actual value based on a history of selling prices closer to $10-15. Anyone can list any book for any price on the internet.

20 Oct 2006 189

Wee Folks Peter Rabbit Series

Ebay description:  Original 1917 Altemus Peter Rabbit Series
Peter Rabbit's Christmas

The Reality:  This book was published between 1923-1926. The 1918-1920 Peter Rabbit Christmas books had red lettering. The blue end papers were seen between 1923-1926.

06 Oct 2006 47

Beauxarts Series


There's no formal copyright I can find but there is the notation of, "H. A. 1842" on the page that I took a picture of. Wikipedia says it was written in 1851, though. In any case, it IS, at least 155 years old & it's in amazingly good condition! There are 296 pages. It measures: 6-1/4" x 4-1/2" x 3/4

The Reality:  This book was published in 1897 as part of of Beauxarts Series. The H.A. 1842 the seller refers to is seen on the title page within a design and indicates the year -1842- that H(enry) A(ltemus) started his company. See the section of the sample title page. Note the initials on the left and the date on the right. This title page frequently confuses people and causes Altemus books to be erroneously described as being published in 1842.

06 Oct 2006 180

Vademecum Series

Ebay description:  This a hardcover book from 1887 written by Marietta Holley and published by Henry Altemus Company, Philadelphia and copyright 1887 by Hubbard Brothers.

The Reality:  This book was published in 1904. Altemus did no reading books before 1890. As has been noted the Henry Altemus Company was incorporated in 1900. Prior to that the firm was known as Henry Altemus.

04 Sep 2006 186

Wee Books for Wee Folks

Ebay description:  Up for auction is a 1904 copy of the Three Little Pigs by Henry Altemus.
A lovely classic. This is a 1904 edition of the Three Little Pigs. There is also another story included in the book, Brave Little Taylor.

The Reality:  This is the third format of this book- not published with the paste-on cover until 1918.
From 1918-1920 the cover lettering was dark yellow. This lettering began in 1921. Thus, the earliest that this book could have been published was in 1921.

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