Tolkien Collector's Guide
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Book and Magazine Collector

Yesterday - By Trotter

Book and Magazine Collector was published monthly by the Warner Group from 1984 to 2010. The magazine shutdown in 2010 as the cost of production made it no longer viable.

This was an excellent resource for Book Collecting and naturally Tolkien was included in six issues that I am aware of.

I find all the issues fascinating as usually half of the magazine, are books wanted and for sale, and Tolkien often features in the wanted sections. They also cover auction results in other issues which also includes Tolkien material.

July 1985.JPG
Number 17 July 1985 – J.R.R. Tolkien With Complete Bibliography
Article by Lew Thomas, assisted by R.A. Gekoski (seven pages). Only a small number of Tolkien titles are included in this article.

December 1988.JPG
Number 57 December 1988 – J.R.R. Tolkien Current Selling Prices Reviewed
No article author specified (five pages). Only a small number of titles in the Bibliography.

As a three-year investment, a first edition “Hobbit” seems to be unbeatable!

February 1992.JPG
Number 95 February 1992 – J.R.R. Tolkien With Complete UK Bibliography
Article by Crispin Jackson, assisted by Christina Scull, to celebrate Tolkien’s Centenary (fourteen pages). The Bibliography is much more comprehensive in this edition, and also the importance of dust-jackets is stated. The 1937 1st UK Hobbit is priced at four times the price without a jacket. Hammond & Anderson’s Bibliography is also mentioned as soon to be released.

…most collectors are interested in only three(titles). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some people who collect the various editions of these titles to the exclusion of all others.

This is spot on.

January 2002.JPG
Number 214 January 2002 – J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Lord of the Rings’
Article by Crispin Jackson (eleven pages) with a less comprehensive Bibliography.

(Lord of the Rings). But since 1992 demand has greatly increased, and the prices have been boosted by at least a factor of ten.

January 2004.JPG
Number 238 January 2004 – Tolkien Special – His Life & Works, Survey of Current Values, Full Bibliography/Price Guide, The Tolkien Society
Article by David Doughan and Ian Collier (twenty-three pages). Survey of Current Values by Crispin Jackson

”A jacketless first of ‘The Hobbit’ sold for £20 at Sotheby’s in July 1967”

Christmas 2005.JPG
Number 263 Christmas 2005 – ‘The Inklings’ C.S. Lewis’s all-star literary group
Article by Colin Duriez, Tolkien gets a couple of pages, but only C.S. Lewis has a current price list on his books.

These are well worth looking out for and adding to your collection, just to get a reminder of what Tolkien collecting was like in the largely pre-Internet days. Another magazine that is also recommended for this is Christina Scull’s The Tolkien Collector as that also contains similar information as well as excellent articles on collecting Tolkien.

I looked at the valuation guides for some UK Tolkien editions from Book and Magazine Collector, and it is interesting to see the trends in values for books.

Book Prices.jpg

From Issue number 57
The Tolkien collector has the choice, therefore, of aiming for the highly-priced firsts, or settling in the meantime for later, less valuable editions. Whatever the decision, anyone collecting the works of J.R.R. Tolkien is assured many hours of sheer reading pleasure

If you are aware of any other issues of the magazine that include articles on Tolkien, then please can you post about them under this thread.
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The Curious Case of Professor Dobson’s Book

Feb 6 - By Mr. Underhill

I’ve recently acquired a copy of Porgils Saga OK Haflida, edited by Ursula Brown from 1952. The narrative of a feud between two great chieftains in Iceland, at the beginning of the twelfth century in Icelandic, with notes and commentary to help the reader. This is volume three of seven of the Oxford English Monograph series while JRR Tolkien was one of the general editors.


Why is this significant you may ask? I bought it from a dealer in Australia who informed me that it belonged to one Professor T.P. Dobson. I did a little research and found out that he was a language professor at Monash University in Melbourne. I discovered this by finding a 1964 calendar from the university with Dobson’s information in it. You can see that University's crest here on page eleven. And Mr. Dobson's info on page 38. ... /1964-calendar-part-1.pdf

An interesting, albeit tertiary association copy, I thought. Tolkien was a language professor, Dobson was a language professor or lecturer at least. The price was fine, so I went ahead and bit the bullet and paid it and the shipping cost to the United States. Then things got really interesting when the volume showed up in the mail and I removed to the dust jacket to look at the boards.


The front board bears a crest that I was unfamiliar with and was completely different from the crest for Monash University. Although based on my research at the time, professor Dobson had no connection with any English school.

As a teacher of History, I knew a little about English heraldry and I recognized the lion, fleur-de-lie and Tudor Roses were all used by the English, nothing really Australian in the images used. I then enlisted the help of Trotter and together we did some detective work on which English schools actually used this type of heraldry together. We started with the crest of Henry VI.


One of the last Kings of England from the Lancaster/York Houses during the War of the Roses, which eventually saw Henry VII the first of the Tudor Monarchs on the English throne. Before the war, Henry the VI awarded a crest to Eton College, which looked like this.


Very similar to the one on the book, but not quite the same. This led us to the actual crest seen on the boards and that came from King’s College (sister school to Eton) in Cambridge. Which matches exactly the one on the book.


So, the puzzle of the crest was solved, but the question still remains; how did Professor Dobson acquire a copy of Porgils Saga OK Haflida? I eventually came to see that he got his MA in Cambridge and our most plausible theory was that he was awarded it by the college while there.

I am working on a longer article on the entire Oxford English Monograph series but that will have to wait for another day.
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Battle of Five Armies Table Top Games

Jan 22 - By AndyBirdUK

This articles is looking at the collectables relating to table top games based on the Battle of Five Armies battle from the Hobbit. This includes Board Games, Roleplaying Games Wargaming Games and Card Games. I am only looking at collectable items which does not include any internet or downloadable content. It will not look at any Computer and Video Games. It is looking at games for the battle itself so will not feature any games from the other parts of the Battle of Five Armies Peter Jackson movie.

Out of interest I have shown any boards/maps to indicate how each game portrays the battle.

The first specific game of the Battle of Five armies I believe is in the wargaming magazine ‘Panzerfaust’ Issue 60 from 1973, by legendary D&D creator Gary Gygax, although Gygax would later distance himself from Tolkien in order to make his D&D system more independent. This article details rule variants for the battle for use within the the Chain Mail wargaming system.



The first actual Board Game was Battle of Five Armies published by LORE in 1975, by Larry Smith. This was a hex based game and came in a branded paper envelope. It was an an unlicensed game.


There was a review for the game in ‘Space Gamer’ magazine issue 3.


The magazines ‘Supernova’ issue 25 and ‘Strategy & Tactics’ issue 54, also have reviews for the game (I don’t have any images of these reviews).

Battle of Five Armies by TSR in 1976 is an updated version of the Lore game. It originally came in a clear bag, then in a bag with an image and finally in a box (with the same image as the second bagged version). Although more professionally produced, this was still an unlicensed game. Reviews for the game were in the magazines ‘White Drwaf’ issue 3 and ‘Campaign’ issue 81 (I do not have images of these reviews).


‘Panzerfaust’ magazine issue 69, had a rules addendum article for the game.


‘Dragon’ magazine issue 1, had an article on how to turn the TSR board game into a wargame with miniatures using some aspects of the Chainmail wargaming system. The magazine also had an advert for the TRS game.



The next Battle of Five Armies game was by ICE in 1985. This game is similar to the Lore/TSR game, it has similar game mechanisms, but is a different game. This is the first officially licensed game. The company produced a few Tolkien based games under their licence particularly the MERP Roleplaying system.


In 1997, the game “La Battaglia Dei Cinque Eserciti” Board Game was published in the Italian magazine KAOS, issue 50. It had been previously published in the fanzine "La voce del drago" (no 3/1982), then in the fanzine "I Signori del Gioco", then in the fanzine "Q" with improved graphics that the Kaos magazine reused. I cannot find any information about these previous publications.


In 1998, ‘Miniature Wargames’ magazine (issue 193, August) published wargaming rules for the Battle of Five Armies titled “The Battle of Lonely Mountain”. This was part of a series of Wargaming rules for various Middle-earth battles by the writer.


Middle Earth Games produced and ran Play By Mail games of their Battle of Five Armies wargame in the 1990’s. Although this was run through an online portal, a rules book was available, which included a play map. The game also features in their regular newsletter, News From Bree, although I am not sure if these were available as a physical copy.


In 2005, Games Workshop released a standalone miniature wargame of the Battle of Five Armies. This was a complete game in a single box and included small scale 10mm figures. There were 8 additional metal figures expansions available. The game was not compatible with their main Lord of the Rings Battle Strategy Game system (see below), although it did use some of the same mechanisms.



As part of the Lord of the Rings Card Game by Fantasy Flight, their “On the Doorstep” expansion, released in 2014, includes cards and rules to be able to play the Battle of Five Armies. Note: the Core Set is needed to play the expansion.


Another Battle of Five Armies Board Game was released by Ares, in 2014. A revised edition was released in 2022 in exactly the same packaging but with slightly updated rules. In 2019 a limited Collectors Edition was produced with deluxe packaging and contents, including 126 hand painted playing pieces, it was limited to 1500.




Games Workshops huge Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Strategy Battle Game wargaming system, based on the Peter Jackson movies, included a Battle of Five Armies expansion. This came free with the ‘White Dwarf’ magazine issue 46, 13 December 2014 (although it was also available as a free download).


The Games Workshop Strategy Battle Games fanzine magazine ‘SBG’ Issue 6, published in 2018, was devoted to the Battle of Five Armies.


If anybody knows of any other table top games covering the Battle of Five Armies then please let me know.
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Tolkien Seminar - "G.B. Smith and J.R.R. Tolkien: a meaningful friendship"

Jan 18 - By Tolkieniano

"To celebrate the 50th year anniversary of Tolkien’s death (1892-1973), a conference dedicated to his meaningful friendship with G.B. Smith, poet and alumnus of Corpus, who died at the Battle of the Somme in 1916."

We are pleased to announce the seminar "G.B. Smith and J.R.R. Tokien: a meaningful friendship" which will be on Tuesday and Wednesday 21st / 22nd March. The venue will be Corpus Christi College, Merton Street, Oxford – the College where Smith himself was a student between 1912 and 1915, and to whom Tolkien himself originally applied for a Degree in Classics.

Organisers: Doug Anderson, Oronzo Cilli, Beppe Pezzini
Other confirmed speakers: Mark Atherton, John Garth, Grace Khuri, Stuart Lee, Kris Swank, Allan Turner, Federica Calabrese, Lucia Simonson, Ivano Sassanelli.

The relationship between G.B. Smith and J.R.R. Tolkien had enormous influence on their human and artistic development during their school and university years, and also played an important role in the development of Tolkien's imagination and legendarium after Smith's death. However, the nature, development and implications of this 'meaningful friendship' (Garth) have often been neglected by scholars (with due exceptions) and not yet fully explored. Topics that will be discussed in this exploratory workshop include the sources, content and style of Smith's poetry, Tolkien's editorial work on Spring Harvest, biographical aspects of their relationship, (literary) influence on Tolkien's work (early and later), and others.

The conference website is: ... ien-meaningful-friendship

with a link to the registration form: ... 6lAczDK3-_eN1Dog/viewform

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"I hold the key": J. R. R. Tolkien through interviews and reminiscences

Jan 17 - By Trotter

Dr Dimitra Fimi, internationally recognized scholar and expert, gave the first annual lecture in honour of J. R. R. Tolkien at University of Birmingham.

Dr Fimi’s lecture meanders through several interviews Tolkien gave during his lifetime, as well as reminiscences of people who knew him well (family, colleagues, publishers, friends). Though this material remains uncollected and scattered in various (often obscure) publications, it often reveals fascinating facets of Tolkien's inspirations, creative process, as well as the construction of a "biographical legend".

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