Henry Altemus Company


Altemus Book Prices


Shakespeare's Plays (Series 164)


With the exception of books from the Young People's Library, probably more questions are asked about these books than any others. Although the books of this series came in two different formats, the hard cover version shown here is the one that everyone wants to know about.

Here are the facts. This 39 volume set was published between 1899 and 1926. Earlier books are identical to later books. They had dust jackets and came in a labeled box. They are among the most common Altemus published books. They rarely sell. Whether a person is selling all 39 of them, a couple of dozen or just a few- they just elicit virtually no interest. Of course, this is without the box or dust jacket. With either of the latter items, they have collector interest.

In the last year two people emailed me with partial sets and the labeled box. Neither would sell them because they thought they had some special treasure. As I tried to explain- I will take the box-sell the books anyway you can. I guess they thought I was trying to cheat them. Below are some examples of listings.

Works of William Shakespeare Henry Altemus Company

This a 22 volume set of the Works of William Shakespeare published by the Henry Altemus Company of Piladelphia. None of the volumes have publishing dates on them, all I can find out from researching this company is that they are from sometime between 1842 and 1936 when the company was in business. The complete set has 39 volumes, so this is not a full set.

Comment: The opening bid was was set by the seller at $50. After two unsuccessful auctions without a bid, it is now listed at $25. No takers yet.

The Works of William Shakespeare. 33 Volumes
by Shakespeare, William

Price: $40.00

Philadelphia: Henry Altemus Company Believed early 1900s. Each volume measures 4 by 5 inches. All in maroon hardcovers. Each volume has an illustrated frontis and a title page with floral decorations framing the title.

Comment: This listing at a book search site has been present for quite awhile. Again no takers- even at the $1.21 per book.

Set of 17 William Shakespeare Plays in 20 Books Troilus adn Cressida, Love's Labor;s Lost, King Richard III, King Henry V, Timon of Athens, Venus & Adonis (The Rape of Lucrees), The Taming of the Shrew, Measure for Measure, The Tempest, King Richard II
Shakespeare, William

Price: US$ 275.00

All have the price of $.37 written on them. Unsure of publish date, but I know they are old. Covers are burgundy with gold gilt lettering on the spine. A gold rose at top and bottom.

Comment: This seller is somewhat delusional since I cannot imagine anyone buying his set for this amount of money.

These are just some examples of the attempted (but unsuccessful) sale of partial sets of these books. There are countless examples of individual books for sale at prices ranging from $5-25. In looking over the book sale sites, it appears that they virtually never sell.

For your interest, take a look at the ABE listings for these books.


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Last Revision July 11, 2008