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Books from Tolkien's Personal Library??
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I recently made a purchase of 4 books that are supposedly from Tolkien's personal library. I bought them from a former Tolkien collector named Greg Miller. The four books are (1) Early Middle English Literature by R. M. Wilson, (2) La Clef D' Amors by Auguste Dontrepont, (3) Anglica: Untersuchungen zur englischen Philologie by Alois Brandl, and (4) Provenzalische Chrestomathie by Carl Appel.

In 2001, Loome Theological Bookseller published a two-sided one sheet catalog of 35 volumes from the personal library of J. R. R. Tolkien. These had been acquired by Loome's from a Catholic university. Almost all were signed by Tolkien, notated by him, or inscribed by their respective authors to him, and almost all were scholarly philological studies Tolkien would have used in his research. These four books came from this sale.

The first book (Wilson) was purchased directly by Greg Miller from the Loome's sale. He bought the book himself for $100. The book is a review copy and contains a small inserted sheet typical of review copies. The book also contains the inscription "[JRRT]." However, according to Greg, the clerk at Loome's told him that the inscription on the front pastedown was, if not Tolkien's handwriting, Christopher Tolkien's. I would like to post a picture to see what you guys think. The provenance for this book seems to me pretty straightforward, but if anyone can refute or validate any of this information, I would really appreciate it.

The other three books (Dontrepont, Brandl, & Appel) are a little more complicated when it comes to their provenance. All three were originally purchased by David Miller (not Greg), an evidently well-known Tolkien collector & dealer. I do not know how much David purchased each book for (from the Loome's sale). After purchasing the books, he removed the front free endpapers of each book because they contained Tolkien inscriptions. He made bookplates out of each one and placed them in early editions of The Lord of the Rings. David then sold the three books to Greg for $100 per book. If anyone can refute or validate any of this information, I would really appreciate it. As far as distinguishing characteristics are concerned, Provenzalische Chrestomathie contains a "B. H. Blackwell LTD. Booksellers 50 and 51 Broad Street Oxford" sticker on the Front Pastedown, and Anglica: Untersuchungen zur englischen Philologie contains a facsimile of the original Tolkien inscription as well as minimal annotations that were evidently done by Tolkien.


An image of the inscription is attached.

Attach file:



jpg  Signature.JPG (5.95 KB)
251_48f10adf0739c.jpg 320X240 px

Posted on: 2008/10/11 13:21


Re: Tolkien signature
Shirrif
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No, I was unable to go on Thursday or Friday.

I have also emailed Rupert Powell (the Managing Director of Bloomsbury Auctions) a dossier showing the problems with this item. This will be hand delivered on Monday and I will ask for a receipt that it has been received. I encourage others to email Rupert (rupert@bloomsburyauctions.com).

I also note from Bloomsbury's terms and conditions the following so any potential buyer has recourse

9. (a) Notwithstanding any other terms of these conditions, if within fourteen days of the sale the Auctioneer has received from the buyer of any lot notice in writing that in his view the lot is a deliberate forgery and within fourteen days after such notification the buyer returns the same to the Auctioneer in the same condition as at the time of the sale and satisfies the Auctioneer that considered in the light of the entry in the catalogue the lot is a deliberate forgery then the sale of the lot will be rescinded and the purchase price of the same refunded. "A deliberate forgery" means a lot made with intention to deceive.

Posted on: 2008/10/11 11:40


Re: Tolkien signature
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Christina and I haven't had a reply from Bloomsbury. Trotter, were you able to go see them? I'm not sure whose responsibility this is: Bloomsbury are acting as agent for the seller, and eBay are only a conduit for Bloomsbury to attract bids. Let the buyer beware! Though a sale at auction of a forgery must reflect badly on the auctioneer, especially if there has been warning of possible fraud.

Wayne

Posted on: 2008/10/11 10:58


Re: Tolkien signature
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Has anyone heard back from Bloomsbury or found out anything else about the other Tolkien items circulating around with similar signatures? I've been watching the Bloomsbury listing on eBay and someone bid on the item. What a shame it would be to see someone pay a lot of money for this item.

Josh

Posted on: 2008/10/11 8:24


Re: BOOK COLLECTING: Moving Your Collection!
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Well done, Khamul. Your method was almost the same as we used at the library I work for, to move our collections into temporary quarters (10%) or offsite storage (90%). Since these are worth about $300 million, we had to take a lot of care, and for security's sake packed most of our stuff ourselves. All books that could fit into a standard record storage carton (aka banker's box, knock-up box) went that way, cushioned on all sides by bubblewrap and with more bubblewrap to fill gaps. We had enough boxes (hundreds of them) that we ordered custom-sized and -perforated bubblewrap so that we could avoid a lot of cutting. For the carton, we chose a heavy-duty archival type from the Hollinger Corp. -- the ordinary boxes from Staples or the like are too weak -- sealed it with duct tape, and marked a tracking code on the end. Books that wouldn't fit in the box were wrapped individually in heavy acid-free paper. We didn't move the boxes etc. ourselves, but had a specialist library mover to do the job, one with an extremely good reputation for taking care (which they did, much in contrast to a move of furniture we then contracted with an ordinary, local firm to do). Our rule too was not to stack cartons more than three high.

When Christina moved to the U.S. from London, she had almost no furniture but a lot of books (about 6,000 volumes), so it made sense to hire a professional book packer -- someone who provided the service to dealers at antiquarian book fairs -- rather than a regular removals firm. This person (and assorted relatives) made short work of it, packing most of Christina's books just as they were, in standard heavy-duty moving boxes with bubblewrap and corrugated sheets for cushioning. But for more valuable books we had the packer wrap them individually in heavy paper before putting them in boxes. The man also arranged for the overseas shipping, customs, etc. When the books arrived (in their own huge shipping container) it was the end of October, and we felt it safe to store them temporarily in our garage, which amounted to cold, dry storage. But come spring, with warming weather, we thought it best to bring them inside, away from the danger of condensation within the boxes. Not that we had a lot of room, as I had about 5,000 volumes myself at the time.

Wayne

Posted on: 2008/10/8 19:18



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