Henry Altemus Company


Altemus Book Prices


Wee Books for Wee Folks Series (Series 185)


The book advertised for sale here is described correctly. It is the Altemus first- the first American pirated copy of the Tale of Peter Rabbit- which was published in 1904. See http://henryaltemus.com/peter_rabbit/peterrabbit.htm for more details.

Having said that, the starting bid of $425 is way out of line.

Here is the ad:

Rare 1st American Edition Peter Rabbit Wee Books Series

US $425.00

This is an amazing find. Many will tell you the first American edition of Peter Rabbit was in 1908; however, this little 5.5 x 4.25 hard cover book was first published in America in 1904. Pirated, but it was the first, the original Peter Rabbit publisher's allowed this to happen by not getting the copy rights in time, this allowed Henry Altemus to publish it in America in 1904. Henry Altemus published I believe 5 editions, and up until at least 1918 the 1904 title page was used, this is why many believe they have a first edition when in fact it is not.

The first edition as is seen is this neat book, is the greenish book cover, as well as the illustrated end pages (both in front and back), another clue is the odd arrangement of the pages where there is picture opposite of each page of text and than two blank pages. You will find each of these characteristics in this true 1st edition of Peter Rabbit Wee Books Series. A true 1st edition of Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit, from the Altemus Wee Books series is very rare. I am excited just to have been able to see one and hold it in my hands.

Comments: This book is not especially rare. Generally a new one goes up for sale every few months (as of 2008). When they do, depending on condition, they generally sell for between $25-125. This book based on the description as well as the cover photo is in n0 better than good condition. Thus, it should sell in the lower part of the price range.

Again a story of a seller who is making claims that are totally false. He advertises this book as a first edition whereas it is the second printing of the second edition.

Here is the ad:


This very nice collectible book is in pretty good condition considering it is 104 years old! Some of the pages have come loose from the binding, but all are there. One of it's owners name appears on front cover page, and the plain page that covered first illustration is missing. Altemus' Wee Books For Wee Folks, Philadelphia, Henry Altemus Company, Copyright, 1904, by Henry Altemus. 31 beautiful little watercolor illustrations by the author, Beatrix Potter. Book is 5 1/2 x 4". 127 pages.

1st Edition

For the truth about this edition see http://henryaltemus.com/peter_rabbit/peterrabbit.htm

Suffice it to say it was not published in 1904 and it is not a first edition. Someone who is too lazy to do the research has already bid this book up to $91. But in the end, it is the seller's responsibility to verify his claims about the book. This is not an example of mutual mistake. The responsibility for false advertising lies with the seller.


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Last Revision September 3, 2008