Monday, August 3, 2009

Outrageous Ebay Listings- Altemus Little Black Sambo

Here is the late reprint
offered by the seller and the earlier book with yellow lettering.

You ever see an item on Ebay that makes you want to scream. Someone lists a book with an incorrect description at an outrageous price. It happens to me especially with Altemus books. Here is the latest.

For the bargain "Buy It Now" price of $399 you can have what the seller states is a rare 1918 Little Black Sambo. He notes in his ad that his book is not a reprint edition. He further notes that it is the original Altemus printing. He is kind enough to tell you not to mistake this for a later Altemus edition.

I guess my thoughts about this ad are that if you do not know, admit it. Say nothing. When I was an intern way back in the 1970's , the most important thing that I learned (besides how to function on no sleep) was when you do not know something, admit it and move on.

Now the reality about this book. In the picture above you can see the black lettering on the cover. Since all the wee Books published between 1918-1920 had either yellow or red lettering, this book is clearly not the earliest Altemus edition. The yellow lettered book is also shown.

Secondly, the seller notes the blue endpapers. Books with these endpapers were published between 1923 and 1926. Between 1918-1921 the endpapers were plain and in 1922-1923 they were green.

So what we have is a 1923-1926 later Altemus reprint of the 1918 edition for 400 bucks. But wait, his book does not have a dust jacket. Now of course even the 1918 first Altemus edition with a dust jacket is not worth anywhere close to this price. But his book is worth $20-30 on a good day.

Here is the dust jacketed copy of this book.

For information on the Wee Books Series see:


  1. yes, this is a mistake many amateurs would make with this once very popular happens often with these early 20th century reprints where the author or title went through numerous printings relatively quickly due to a wide-spread must consult either a bibliography, direct experience or understand the nuances of old children's books (and know you need to research it) in order to correctly assess and describe what you have...I've seen this sort of mis-representation for over 20 years...

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