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Tolkien Notes 15

April 30, 2018

The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide

The new edition of our J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide is currently offered on Amazon U.K. for £76.78. This is not as low as the price has gone, but is less than it was for a while (£78.00), and much less than the list price of £120.00.

Tolkien Society Awards

Members of the Tolkien Society, of which we ourselves have been members for a great many years, have voted Too Many Books and Never Enough the best website for 2018. See this article for details. Our thanks to all who thought us worthy, despite our lack of frequent posting. The other nominees deserve mention no less: Devon Press’s useful bibliographical site TolkienBooks.US, and Ryszard Derdziński’s blog Tolknięty which has revealed much about Tolkien’s continental ancestry.

Collector’s Nostalgia

While sorting one of our files, Wayne came upon a page from a 20 March 1984 Sotheby’s London auction catalogue with the following lot:

Tolkien (J.R.R.) The Hobbit, de luxe edition, coloured plates, Folio Society, 1976; The Lord of the Rings, 3 vol., illustrations, ibid. [i.e. also Folio Society], 1977; India paper edition in one vol., 1974; Poems and Stories, illustrations, 1980; The Road Goes Ever On, with music by Donald Swann, 1968; The Father Christmas Letters, coloured illustrations, 1976; The Silmarillion, 1977 (2 copies); Letters, 1981; Unfinished Tales, 1980; Pictures, coloured and plain illustrations, 1979, the last eight first editions, original cloth or boards, the first four and last in a slipcase or box; and 23 others by Tolkien (some paperbacks), 8vo and 4to.

Against an estimated price of £100–150, the lot sold for only £90 (then about $145), which was a bargain for thirty-six books, even with a premium – £9, when the premium was only 10% of the hammer price – added on. The London bookselling firm Bertram Rota bid on Wayne’s behalf. At that time he had almost none of these titles in his Tolkien collection, so at once filled several major wants. Among these were the Folio Society Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, the India Paper edition of The Lord of the Rings, the first (British) editions of The Road Goes Ever On, Letters, and other books, the first three British paperback printings of Tree and Leaf, and the three-volume Reader’s Union edition of The Lord of the Rings. Some of the books were a surprise, because they weren’t mentioned in the description – they were among the ‘23 others’. All were in at least very good, collector’s condition. Unpacking the box was, Wayne says, like Christmas in July (or rather, March).

  1. Timothy Vandenberg permalink
    April 30, 2018 9:30 pm

    Congratulations on your website win!!! 🙂

  2. jan permalink
    May 1, 2018 12:06 am

    Congratulations! (and, my goodness, Christmas in July indeed. W O W !)

  3. Colin Harper permalink
    May 1, 2018 10:58 am

    Quality not quantity for your posting! That was an amazing bargain indeed. If you had the time to check current eBay prices for all of those items, I’m sure it would be a staggering sum.

  4. May 1, 2018 11:00 am

    Congratulations for your award! The auction story of ‘Christmas’ Books is a grand and vicarious thrill so appropriate for Too Many Books.

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