In addition to the Super Deluxe Children of Húrin coming next month, there are two auction houses that have some pricey but quite interesting items coming up for bid. On December 6, Bloomsbury Auctions in London has seven lots available, with estimates ranging from £500 at the low end to £15,000 at the high end. A week later on the 13th of December, Sotheby's London branch has six lots with estimates ranging from £1000 at the low end to £15,000 at the high end. Included are a signed letter and first editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Read on for more details on both auctions...
Bloomsbury Auctions is up first with their sale "Modern First Editions, Manuscripts & Autograph Letters, English & Continental Literature, History and Other Important Printed Books" on 6 December 2007 at 11.00am & 2.00pm. Here are the details on this auction
Viewing beforehand on
Tuesday 4th December from 9.30am to 5.30pm
Wednesday 5th December from 9.30am to 8.00pm
Thursday 6th December from 9.30am to 10.30am
155. Tolkien (J.R.R.).- Sweet (Henry, editor) .Extracts from Alfred’s Orosius, second edition,J.R.R.Tolkien’s copy with his signature in pencil on front free endpaper and a few annotations to text at beginning and library book-label on front pastedown, text in Old English and Latin, upper hinge weak, original cloth-backed printed boards, browned and a little rubbed, upper board slightly stained at foot, 8vo, Oxford, 1893.
Estimates £750 - £1000
***Tolkien was a philologist and authority on Anglo-Saxon literature and Old English. He was professor of Anglo-Saxon at Pembroke College, Oxford, from 1928-1945 and during this time created most of the Middle Earth mythology and languages which provide the background to his fictional works..
156. Tolkien (J.R.R.) .The Hobbit, first edition, frontispiece, plate, full-page illustrations and map endpapers by the author, 2pp. advertisements, slight splitting to rear endpapers with small sticker on rear pastedown, light staining to edges of plate, some minor marking and spotting, original pictorial cloth, backstrip detached from lower joint with slight loss to cloth, rubbed at corners and fore-edge of upper cover, light circular mark on upper cover, cocked, 8vo, 1937.
Estimates £1500 - £2000
157. Tolkien (J.R.R.) .The Hobbit, first edition, frontispiece, plate, full-page illustrations and map endpapers by the author, 2pp. advertisements, a few very minor marks, but overall internally a very good copy, handsomely bound in full modern green morocco, gilt Smaug to foot of upper cover, spine with gilt compartments and black morocco labels, gilt borders, in green cloth slip-case, 8vo, 1937.
Estimates £1800 - £2000
158. Tolkien (J.R.R.) .The Lord of the Rings, 3 vol., comprising The Fellowship of the Ring, 1954; The Two Towers, 1954; The Return of the King, second state with sagging text on p.49, 1955, first editions, first impressions, maps, each vol. with bookseller’s small sticker to foot of front pastedown, original cloth, very slightly cocked, dust-jackets, small tear with loss to foot of spine of The Return of the King, light minor marking to The Fellowship of the Ring, otherwise an excellent bright set, 8vo.
Estimates £10000 - £15000
***Scarce in such condition.
159. Tolkien (J.R.R.) .The Lord of the Rings, 3 vol., comprising The Fellowship of the Ring, map of the Shire, folding map at end, spotting to endpapers, splitting, 1 f. detached with tape to inside margin, backstrip crudely attached to covers, 1954; The Two Towers, folding map, spotting to later ff., lacking backstrip, 1955; The Return of the King, folding map, second state with sagging text on p.49, spotting to endpapers, backstrip becoming detached, 1955, first editions, previous owner’s name on front free endpaper, original cloth, worn and marked, 8vo.
Estimates £1000 - £1500
160. Tolkien (J.R.R.) .The Lord of the Rings, 3 vol., comprising The Fellowship of the Ring, fifth impression, 1956; The Two Towers, fourth impression, 1956; The Return of the King, second impression, 1955, first editions, maps, original cloth, dust-jackets, uniformly darkened, otherwise a very good set, 8vo.
Estimates £500 - £700
395. Tolkien (J.R.R., author and philologist, 1892-1973) .Autograph Letter signed to “JRRT” to ?Amy Ronald, 2pp., 8vo, n.p., 20th March 1969, discussing a misunderstanding, recent health issues (his wife’s and Amy Ronald’s). and discussing a translation of The Hobbit, “I shall be interested to hear how the French version of Le Hobbit strikes you. Personally I think one of the most unfortunate results of the French invasion of England was the adulteration of our own language. With the consequence that we have a large Franco-Latin ingredient, largely floating about like oil, and specially used when we are being ‘adult’ stuffy or professional. So that French (to those who don’t know it well) sounds often priggish in colloquial dialogue”, fold, in a modern slipcase.
Estimates £1000 - £1500
Second up in December is Sotheby's sale on Thursday, December 13th.
Here are the details for this auction:
Sale: L07411 | Location: London, New Bond Street
Auction Dates: Session 1: Thu, 13 Dec 07 10:00 AM
Lot 300. Tolkien, J.R.R., The Hobbit. George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1937. Estimate: 10,000 – 15,000 GBP. 8vo, first edition, first issue ("Dodgeson" corrected in ink on inside lower flap of dust-jacket), 10 illustrations, pictorial end-papers in red and black by the author, 2 pages of publisher's advertisements at end, rebound in sumptuous full green morocco and signed by bayntun-riviere with morocco onlays on both upper and lower covers of Smaug the dragon in red and brown together with mountains in brown and black, spine with morocco onlays of mountains in brown and black together with lettering and runic symbols in gilt, upper cover of original binding trimmed and bound at rear, marbled endpapers, gilt edges, sewn head and foot bands, full green morocco folding box duplicating spine of volume in gilt and onlays.
Lot 301. Tolkien, J.R.R., The Hobbit. George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1937. Estimate: 8,000 – 10,000 GBP. 8vo, first edition, first issue ("Dodgeson" corrected in ink on inside lower flap of dust-jacket), 10 illustrations, pictorial end-papers in red and black by the author, 2 pages of publisher's advertisements at end, original pictorial green cloth, original pictorial dust-jacket by the author, collector's green morocco-backed folding box, internally clean with some very minor finger-soiling on a few leaves, head and foot of spine very slightly bumped, dust-jacket with some professional restoration including restored sections at head of spine (10 by 25mm.) and restoration to some other minor chips and tears at extremities, some minor staining.
Lot 302. Tolkien, J.R.R., The Lord of the Rings. George Allen & Unwin, 1954-1955. Estimate: 2,000 – 3,000 GBP. 8vo, 3 volumes, first edition, first impressions (volume three in first state of first impression), illustrations, maps including folding maps at end of each volume, original red cloth lettered in gilt on spine, dust-jackets, some light browning or soiling to endpapers, bindings worn with extremities bumped and occasional staining, upper hinge repaired in volume one, soiled dust-jackets frayed at extremities with adhesive tape repairs, staining from adhesive tape.
Lot 303. Tolkien, J.R.R., The Lord of the Rings. George Allen & Unwin, 1960-1961. Estimate: 4,000 – 6,000 GBP. 8vo, 3 volumes, tenth impression [volume one], seventh impression [volumes two and three], each volume signed by the author on title-page ("J.R.R. Tolkien"), illustrations, maps including folding maps at end of each volume, later full green morocco featuring Tolkien's 'Ring and Eye' device in gilt and black on upper covers together with Tolkien's 'certar' lettering in black at top edge, spine with title as written by Frodo in The Return of the King ("The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings and the Return of the King Together with extracts from Books of Lore translated by Bilbo in Rivendell") in black and gilt, gilt edges, some minor browning to endpapers
Lot 304. Tolkien, J.R.R., The Lord of the Rings. George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1969. Estimate: 2,500 – 3,500 GBP. 8vo, 3 volumes in one as issued, presentation copy inscribed by the author ("Christmas | 1969 | E.M. Jebb | with best | wishes and kind re- | membrances | from J.R.R.T.") on slip laid-down to front free endpaper, first 'india paper edition', 3 maps (including 2 folding) printed in red and black, later full red morocco by Bayntun-Riviere with design on upper cover in gilt together with grey and black morocco onlays, spine in compartments, gilt edges, colllector's red morocco folding box.
Lot 305. Tolkien, J.R.R., Fine autograph letter signed to Mr [Dr Derrick] Parnum. Estimate: 1,000 – 1,500 GBP. Noting ill-health, apologising for not having written earlier and presumably responding to the correspondent's omission of his title ("I have now been a 'professor' so long (since 1924 in fact) that it no longer seems at all important. It never has been regarded as important in Oxford, anyway...") Discussing birthday dates the author notes "I, like many males, cannot convince myself that they are important, and so cannot remember them..." and also the process of suggesting presents ("...hints amounting almost to plain statements go ignored... while a casual remark may produce (now and again) some staggeringly costly present, hardly really dreamed of...") Tolkien then tells of having received a pair of binoculars following "a casual remark about a blackbird friend of mine..." Tolkien then states his feelings about the lord of the rings and provides a statement of intention ("Nothing irritates me about my book not even abusive reviews or patronizing ones. But I have to try not to be absorbed myself by it. In primary intentions it is, of course, meant just to be a good tale in its kind, written first of all for my own satisfaction, there being very little of that kind of literature available, and I need more. But a lot of things have got caught up in it. It is not an "allegory", all the same. Though one soon discovers that the more you put into any story the more capable it becomes of being generally or particularly applied to other matters... It was imagined as a 'plot', and largely written before nuclear physics became political and mixed up with power...") 4 pages, 4to, 76 Sandfield Road, Oxford, 2 March 1955, some browning to edges and minor soiling.