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Interview with Wayne Hammond

November 12, 2014 — Urulöké (Views: 26830)

Fellow Tolkien collector, noted Tolkien scholar and co-editor (with wife Christina Scull) of the forthcoming The Art of The Lord of the Rings just had a lovely interview/article published over at the Williams Record.


This movie prop up for auction looks much more legit - Rohan Ax prop at RR Auction

June 26, 2014 — Urulöké (Views: 65378)

Rohan Ax Prop RR Auction
Note for those interested, this auction is closing TODAY, you must bid by 6PM Eastern Time (1 AM June 27, GMT).

RR Auction has a Two Towers / Return of the King movie prop running now, and the authenticity looks very good, and RR Auction is also very good about their certification and guarantees. Take a look!

#407 - Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Return of the King
Rohan soldier’s ax used in two films of Jackson’s epic Tolkien trilogy, including the Battle of Helm’s Deep

Incredibly detailed and realistic screen-used Rohan soldier's axe used in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Return of The King. Ax features a blade made from dense rubber, measuring 11″ long, and features beautifully intricate engravings that are reminiscent of Viking craftsmanship. As the soldiers of Rohan were known for being expert cavalrymen, the ax also features a small horse head above the shoulder. Blade is attached to a 28.5″ resin handle that has been painted to appear wooden. Minor wear from production use, otherwise fine condition. Rohan is a realm of men in the world of Middle-earth, and axes of this style can be seen wielded by the soldiers of Rohan, particularly during the epic battle of Helm's Deep. RR Auction COA.

As of this writing (approximately 5 hours before open bidding closes) the current bid is at $1026+$230 buyers premium, or $1256 total. [Update]: The item was withdrawn before closing, presumably because it did not meet a hidden reserve. [End update]

Rohan Ax movie prop screenshot

New book - Tolkien's Sacramental Vision: Discerning the Holy in Middle Earth

June 25, 2014 — Urulöké (Views: 59228)

Tolkien's Sacramental Vision: Discerning the Holy in Middle Earth is a newly published book by Craig Bernthal, Professor of English at California State University, Fresno. From the Angelico Press announcement, "This new book by the author of The Trial of Man examines in depth the influence of Catholic sacramentality on the thought and work of Tolkien." I have requested a review copy and will have it in hand soon to review [side note, is there anyone here who would like a stab at reviewing this book? Let me know!] In the interim, here is the press release from the publisher:

Tolkien's Sacramental Vision

Tolkien’s Sacramental Vision

Discerning the Holy in Middle Earth

Craig Bernthal

ONE OF TOLKIEN’S great appeals to readers is that he offers a world replete with meaning at every level. To read and reread Tolkien is to fall in love with a universe that has a beginning and an end, where good and bad are not subjective choices, but objective realities; a created order full of grace, though damaged by sin, in which friendship is the seedbed of the virtues, and where the greatest warriors finally become the greatest healers.

  A correspondent once told J. R. R. Tolkien that his work seemed illumined “by an invisible lamp.” That lamp is the Church, and its light is the imaginative sensibility that we live in a sacramental world. This new book by the author of The Trial of Man examines in depth the influence of Catholic sacramentality on the thought and work of Tolkien, and is a signal contribution to a deeper understanding of his mythological world.

“Craig Bernthal demonstrates that Tolkien’s literary vision was profoundly and concretely sacramental, and his magnificent retelling of the entire Cosmic Story shaped by the Church’s most basic theological claims and its quite specific sacraments. In making these visible for the first time, Bernthal provides us with a lens for a fresh look at Tolkien.”—RALPH C. WOOD, author of The Gospel According to Tolkien

“Bernthal’s is a unique study in fully establishing the centrality of St. John the Divine in Tolkien’s life and thought. He shows, compellingly, that the sacraments of the Eucharist and penance structure the legendarium, and that The Lord of the Rings truly is a book of signs.”—ALISON MILBANK, author of Chesterton and Tolkien as Theologians

“Through his academic work, his heroic fiction and legendarium, and his sanctified mythic vision, Tolkien revealed worlds of beauty and terror. In his new book, Craig Bernthal wondrously uncovers the numerous layers in Tolkien’s thought as well as the nuances, the trajectories, and even the empty spaces, immense with possibilities.”—BRADLEY J. BIRZER, author of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Sanctifying Myth

“Having enjoyed Craig Bernthal’s excellent book on Shakespeare, I am delighted that he has turned the keen edge of his considerable intellect to the Catholicism of Middle-earth. This is a work that will thrill and enthrall all those who wish to delve deeper into Tolkien’s world.”—JOSEPH PEARCE, author of Tolkien: Man & Myth and Bilbo’s Journey: Discovering the Hidden Meaning of The Hobbit.

CRAIG BERNTHAL is Professor of English at California State University, Fresno, where he has taught Shakespeare and Renaissance literature for 26 years. He has published articles, essays, short fiction, and two books: The Trial of Man: Christianity and Judgment in the World of Shakespeare and Perfection in Bad Axe, a book of short stories. He is especially interested in the ideas of quest and pilgrimage in literature and in life.

Are these real Hobbit and LOTR movie props for auction?

June 20, 2014 — Urulöké (Views: 61114)

[Update below]

Premeire Props is having their Hollywood Auction Extravaganza XIV on June 21-22 in California. Included in this auction are quite a few listings labeled as from the first two Hobbit Films and the three Lord of the Rings movies. A linked list of these items is included below if you are interested.

It is important to keep in mind that provenance and authenticity are of absolute importance when collecting movie props. Premiere Props offers certificates of authenticity for any items that they sell through their website (see their terms here) but those same terms do not generally apply to their weekly auctions such as this one, where items are typically consigned by other sellers. For the live auction items, each item description details the provenance and authenticity guarantees that each item comes with. For example, here is an item from the X-Men films, where the item description states "actual hero screen used claws", "These are the hero rubber versions worn by Jackman", "The blades come with a Letter of Provenience from producer Lauren Shuler Donner", and "This item also comes with a Movie Props DNA", which is a system of authenticity that Premiere Props uses to authenticate items even after they are sold.

Now, if you read all of the below item descriptions, you will note that not once is it mentioned that these are screen used, none of the items comes with a certificate of authenticity, and no provenance at all is mentioned for any of these listings. Bidder and buyer beware!!! It is certainly possible that some, many or all of these are legitimate props, but as a buyer you will be very hard pressed indeed to document this for insurance purposes or later if you should want to sell them again.

[Update]I just now received this email in response to my queries to them:

All come from a guy who works on the props in these films. Premiere Props will provide a COA.

So the provenance for these items is "a guy". The Certificate of Authenticity is nice, though! [End Update]

Premiere Props has been documented as having some questionable practices in the past, primarily via the Original Prop Blog - for example, knowingly trying to sell a fake prop: "So, in short… Premiere Props listed a fake prop for sale as authentic… was subsequently told that it was fake… they left it up for sale anyway, and then changed it to an authentic fake, with a $200 start price… a price which was realized at auction with a single bid, yet the item was not sold?" And

The Lord of the Rings
392: Lord of the Rings Production Practice Sword Movie Prop
393: Lord of the Rings Return of the King Cup Movie Props
394: Lord of the Rings Two Towers Cup Move Props
396: Lord of the Rings Two Towers Necklace Prop
397: Lord of the Rings Return of the King Flail Weapon Prop
398: Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring Necklace Prop
399: Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring Rams Horn Prop
446: Lord of the Rings Two Towers Elephant Riders Sword Prop
536: Lord of the Rings Fellowship Practice Sword
537: Lord of the Rings Production Practice Sword Prop
717: The Hobbit Desolation of Smaug Dwarf Pants Costume
718: The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey Deer Hoof Dagger
719: The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Cup Prop
720: The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Cup Prop
721: The Hobbit The Desolation of Smaug Village Box Prop

Marks of Genius Exhibition at the Morgan Library & Musuem

June 7, 2014 — Trotter (Views: 9903)

Dust-jacket design for the HobbitMarks of Genius presents some of the greatest achievements of human creativity, from the beginning of recorded information up to the industrial era, as preserved in the incomparable collections of Oxford University's Bodleian Library. The exhibition features approximately sixty rare and exceptional objects from diverse disciplines that serve as points of departure for exploring some of the fundamental meanings of genius.

The ways in which genius has been cultivated, recognized, and venerated will be explored through such works as early manuscripts of Euclid's Elementa and Gregory I's Regular Pastoralis, the oldest book written in English; an Arabic manuscript book of constellations; a unique papyri of Sappho's poems; the copyright deposit copy of Shakespeare's First Folio; a thirteenth-century manuscript of the Magna Carta; the definitive account of Aztec civilization; the manuscript of Handel's Messiah; J.R.R. Tolkien's drawings for The Hobbit; and Mary Shelley's manuscript draft of Frankenstein.

Marks of Genius travels exclusively to the Morgan before returning to the Bodleian Library to mark the opening of a new building devoted to its special collections. The opening date for this exhibition at the new Bodleian Weston Library is the 22nd March 2015.

Dates : 6 June 2014 - 14 September 2014

Location: The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street, New York


Two Page Handwritten and Signed Letter From Tolkien Up For Auction Through June 18th

June 5, 2014 — Urulöké (Views: 10613)
Doris Sykes Tolkien Signed Letter Page 1
Doris Sykes Tolkien Signed Letter Page 2
Doris Sykes Tolkien Signed Letter Page 3
Doris Sykes Tolkien Signed Letter Page 4

[Update]: This item appears to have been withdrawn at the last moment, I assume because it failed to meet an invisible reserve.

RR Auction has a two page (both sides) handwritten and signed letter from J. R. R. Tolkien up for auction, and it is an outstanding example of his handwriting and signature. It has a postscript as well, with his shortened initials-only signature as well. The letter itself is undated, but based on the content it appears to have been written around 1956.

The letter itself was sent to Doris Sykes, an artist who had sent some illustrations for The Lord of the Rings to Tolkien and inquired if he was interested in using them for an illustrated edition. Tolkien was clearly impressed with her artwork and expressed interest in buying some himself, when finances allowed.

This is one of two letters sold at Christies in June 2013 - those two letters realized £15,000 ($23,505) at that time.

A brief extract from the letter:

“I have done nothing further in the matter, since the publishers are not at present inclined to consider any edition illustrated or more deluxe and costly than the one just issued…I have shown your drawings to other ‘readers’ & the response has been good; though most agree that the best way of doing hobbits is to make them absolutely ordinary human beings (except for a neat goatee or buskin of hair), and not too childlike, round-eyed etc.... I should be v. pleased to see any further drawings you make; though I cannot encourage any great hopes of your labour being rewarded in a practical way in the near future.”

Also, as a postscript Tolkien added the following note:

“Except that—if and when I get any money from the book after the vast costs are defrayed: I have had none at all yet—I like some of the drawings so much that I should like to consider asking you to allow me to purchase some for myself, in the event of an illustrated edition being indefinitely postponed.”

Item 520
Sale ends June 18, 2014
Current bid at $5826 (as of June 5th, 2014)

Bonhams Auction June 18, 2014 - TLS and 1st Hobbit

May 30, 2014 — Urulöké (Views: 10028)

Up for auction in a few weeks are two interesting items from Bonhams - a typed letter signed (TLS) not appearing in Carpenter's Letters, and a first impression of The Hobbit in dustjacket. Though the letter and book both have condition issues, they have quite a bit of appeal and should have no trouble meeting their respective estimates. Good luck to all interested bidders!

London, Knightsbridge
18 Jun 2014 13:00 BST
Auction 21763

Bonhams Sale 21763 Lot 277 - Signed letter
Lot 277
Autograph and partly typed letter signed ("J.R.R. Tolkien"), Sandfield Road, Headington, 17 January 1964

Autograph and partly typed letter signed ("J.R.R. Tolkien"), to Mrs A. Mountfield of Eltham Green School, thanking her for sending the letter by one of her class children which gave him great pleasure ("...The Hobbit seems to have gone down well at school; I have had several letters telling me of class activities arising from interest in it. Not all as well penned as this...") but adding that he hopes "it will turn out not to be the only gift to you from Oxford"; adding in his own hand: "for you to hand on" and observing: "All teaching is exhausting, and depressing and one is seldom comforted by knowing when one has had some effect. I wish I could now tell some of mine (of long ago) how I remember them and things they said, though I was (only, as it appeared) looking out of the window or giggling at my neighbour", 1 page, printed heading, small cup-rim stain at foot, 4to, Sandfield Road, Headington, 17 January 1964

Estimate: £1,500 - 2,000 (US$ 2,500 - 3,300)

Bonhams Sale 21763 Lot 278 - Hobbit 1st impression
Lot 278
The Hobbit or There and Back Again, FIRST EDITION, FIRST IMPRESSION, George Allen & Unwin, [1937]

frontispiece and 9 plates or illustrations (all but one full-page), map endpapers in red and black by the author, light pencil inscription (near erased) on front free endpaper, publisher's green cloth, lettered and decorated in dark blue, first issue dust-jacket after a design by Tolkien, with 'Dodgeson' on rear flap corrected in ink, unclipped with price "7s. 6d." (loss at extremities of spine, 1cm at top, 3cm at bottom) and corners, short tear (with no loss) affecting one line of upper flap, generally fresh colour [Hammond A3(a)], 8vo

Estimate: £10,000 - 15,000 (US$ 17,000 - 25,000)

ebay makes users change their passwords after hack

May 21, 2014 — Trotter (Views: 7276)

Auction site ebay is forcing users to change their passwords after a cyber-attack compromised its systems.

The US firm said a database had been hacked between late February and early March, and had contained encrypted passwords and other non-financial data.

The company added that it had no evidence of there being unauthorized activity on its members' accounts.

However, it said that changing the passwords was "best practice and will help enhance security for ebay users".

The California-based company has 128 million active users and accounted for $212bn (£126bn) worth of commerce on its various marketplaces and other services in 2013.

It said it would be contacting users to alert them of the issue via email, its website, adverts and social media.



Tolkien Typed Signed Letter for auction - Nate D. Sanders Fine Autographs - May 29th 2014

May 20, 2014 — Urulöké (Views: 6524)

Nate D Sanders Typed Signed Letter

This signed letter has been on eBay a few times recently (and discussed here), and has now made it to a dealer auction house.

Nate D. Sanders Fine Autographs and Memorabilia
Auction ends May 29th, 5PM Pacific Time

Lot #576:

J.R.R. Tolkien autograph letter signed. Dated 11 May 1966, letter referring to the piracy of his wildy successful ''The Hobbit'' and ''The Lord of the Rings'' reads, ''Dear Mr. Walker, I did receive the tape that you sent to me on 13th July, not the 3rd July, 1965. I regret not having acknowledged receipt, but it arrived just as I was becoming heavily involved in the business of combating 'piracy' in the United States, which occupied me most of the remainder of last year. I am afraid it has been wasted on me because I have not now got a recorder and am far too busy to deal with any such matters. If you think of going further with your settings, either making public use of your tapes or considering publication of the music please consult Messrs. Allen & Unwin, 40 Museum Street, W.C.1. I return your tape herewith with regrets that I am not able to make any proper return for your interest in my work. Yours sincerely, [J.R.R. Tolkien]''. Single-page letter on a sheet of Tolkien's blind-stamped personal stationery measures 7'' x 9''. Toning, creasing and minor foxing. Very good.

The starting bid is set to $2,500 with no bids at this time (May 20th).

Hat tip to Marcel for pointing this out on Twitter:

Great Courses: Thomas Shippey's "Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature" on sale

May 16, 2014 — Urulöké (Views: 6589)

Heroes and Legends logo
On sale through May 29th, Professor Thomas Shippey's set of twenty four lectures "Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature" is a great deal - available as video or audio download, or on DVD or CD for the physical media fans. The first lecture covers Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings, but the entire course sounds very interesting.

Perhaps the best example is Frodo Baggins, the meek hobbit hero of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. In his opening lecture, Professor Shippey explains how, after the horrors of global war, the world was waiting for a down-to-earth hero, someone called to duty rather than born strong and fearless.

This sums up the course very well, I think:

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the course is that it covers the high and the low. Rather than employing the traditional academic approach to “theme” and “symbolism” and dense critical language, Professor Shippey is interested in story, with its entertainment value and memorable characters.

As such, he covers some canonical favorites—Homer, Virgil, Chaucer—but he also gives considerable attention to characters often ignored in academia, such as the “New Romancers” of the late 19th century and the fantasy writers of the 20th and 21st centuries. The result is an enjoyable approach to the great stories across the ages.

At the heart of the course is Professor Shippey himself, a charming, top-notch storyteller who is as engrossed in (and moved by) these stories as we are. But as a true authority on his subject, he offers a unique viewpoint and fresh insights to every lecture, making this course a memorable—and moving—experience.

Professor Shippey books include The Road to Middle-earth: How J.R.R. Tolkien Created a New Mythology and J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century, and he has written numerous other books and articles on Tolkien, Grimm, Beowulf, and other topics. One random tidbit I was not previously aware of until reading the "about the author" blurb on this Great Courses set is that he was also an adviser on pronunciation for Peter Jackson’s three Lord of the Rings movies.


via Nancy Martsch

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