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Blackwell's Hobbits

Dec 6 - By Trotter

Blackwell's Rare Books have two Hobbits in their latest catalogue

Blackwells Catalogue (pdf)

136. Tolkien (J.R.R.) The Hobbit or, There and Back Again.

George Allen & Unwin, 1937, FIRST EDITION, frontispiece, 8 full-page illustrations, a further text illustration, all by the author

pp. 310, [2, ads], crown 8vo

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original pale green cloth, the lettering to backstrip and upper board stamped in dark blue, likewise Tolkien’s overall designs to cloth, lean to spine and a few tiny specks to cloth, the edges slightly toned with a few faint spots, endpaper maps printed in black and red, ownership inscription to flyleaf, dustjacket with design by Tolkien, the misspelling ‘Dodgeson’ in the blurb on the rear flap corrected in ink as usual, some handling and toning visible in white areas with a couple of very faint marks, chipped at extremities with some loss at head of backstrip panel, a few nicks and very short closed tears, good (Hammond & Anderson A3a)

£60,000
An unrestored copy in single ownership since publication; scarce in the dustjacket.

THE TOVE JANSSON HOBBIT
137. Tolkien (J.R.R.) Bilbo. En Hobbits Äventyr [The Hobbit.] I Översättning av Britt G. Hallqvist och med Illustrationer av Tove Jansson.

Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1962, FIRST JANSSON EDITION, 10 full-page drawings with numerous smaller drawings throughout text

pp. 308, 8vo

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original quarter green cloth with colourprinted Jansson illustration to upper board, backstrip lettered in gilt with very slight lean to spine, some trivial wear at board-corners and gentle fading to border of lower board, a
couple of little spots to top edge, bookplate and ownership inscription of Bengdt Sandin to front pastedown, very good (Hammond & Anderson Swedish C4)

£2,000

An attractive edition - a book whose scarcity can be attributed to both author and illustrator being immensely collectable separately.

Given the importance of the Nordic influence on Tolkien’s work, there is something reciprocal about the foremost illustrator of the region turning her hand to one of his most enduring works - and the results are delightful.
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Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary UK Stamps - Covers Part 1

Dec 4 - By AndyBirdUK

This is the second article looking at the UK Royal Mail Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary Stamps, and it gets interesting as we start to look at the various First Day Covers available. There is quite a lot within this so I will be doing a few articles to cover everything.

UK First Day Covers is a little complicated as there are quite a few variations of things to consider. There are 2 main aspects, a; the Cover (usually an Envelope), and b; the Postmark franking the stamps.

Let’s consider Postmarks first.

For a commemorative release of stamps the UK Royal Mail allows organisations to register and produce their own postmark design for the release. Postmarks must relate to a specific place within the UK. The postmarks usually have a title and an image (as well as the place and date of issue). The organisations which do this are usually a; organisations with an interest/connection to the subject of the stamps being released or b; organisations with an interest in the specific release date. For these Lord of the Rings stamps there were 29 authorised postmarks (although some of these were not specifically Tolkien related).

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As well as the specific release postmarks, there were also a few other postmarks available for the release date. These were more general special postmarks available for a given date period which included the release date and therefore Lord of the Rings covers could have been produced with them. These postmarks were not specifically Tolkien related. There were 16 of these postmarks, however I have only confirmed them on a few Lord of the Rings covers (and therefore have no images for some in the lists below). There are also some permanent special postmarks available on the release date, again not Tolkien related. There are quite a few of these so I will only list the ones which I have confirmed Lord of the airings covers for (currently only 1).

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It should be noted that a normal everyday postmark for the release date from any place with the UK is also a First Day Cover, however these are not usually collected.

As well as the Postmark the second aspect of a First Day Cover is the Cover, which is usually an Envelope, but as we will see later, can be other things.

In theory any item with the stamps and an official release date postmark is a First Day Cover, however organisations produce specific cover designs and these are what are collectable. The cover designs don’t have to be authorised so there is no official list of these and defining a complete list is quite hard.

Special Covers can be classified into those produced by a; stamp organisations, b; Tolkien specific organisations, c; non-Tolkien specific organisations. I have identified 30 different covers for the Lord of the Rings stamps.

A lot of the time the covers relate to a specific postmark, with organisations producing specific covers for specific postmarks, however, in theory any cover could have been produced with any postmark giving potentially quite a lot of collectable items.

Let’s now look at some of the actual organisations which produced covers for this Lord of the Rings release. I will be showing images of the cover/postmark combinations I have identified to date, there may have been others produced, please let me know if you have or are aware of any others.

The first organisation to look at is the UK Royal Mail themselves. As shown in the Introductory article, Royal Mail produced their own Postmark (a JRRT monogram image, from their Talents House, Edinburgh) and their own Cover (featuring a brown Lord of the Rings bookmark).

This Royal Mail cover can be found with most of the Tolkien related postmarks (although I believe that probably all of them were produced, I just haven’t seen examples of 3 of them), including all of the Myth and Magic postmarks.

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I have only seen 1 of the Non-Tolkien postmarks.

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Next we have the 3 major stamp organisations which were producing First Day Covers at the time.

The first is Cotswold Covers. Their cover is quite basic with a ‘C’ left edge, title and small logo. Again this cover can be found with a lot of the specific Tolkien related postmarks, but none of the Non-Tolkien.

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Another major stamp organisation, Stuart Covers, has a similar cover design, with a title and small logo. This cover can also be found with a lot of the specific Tolkien related postmarks, but none of the Non-Tolkien.

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The next of the major stamp organisations is Benham Covers. Benham had its own Myth & Magic theme which they used for the stamps for which they had their own set of 10 Postmaks, one for each of the stamps. They then produced a whole series of covers for the release, based mainly on this Myth & Magic theme and only with their Myth & Magic Postmarks.

They produced a set of 10 individual covers each with a colourful different image to match a; a specific stamp and b; a specific Myth & Magic postmark. I have not seen these covers with any variations or other Postmarks.

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Their second offering was a Myth & Magic Masterpieces cover with the whole set of stamps, which had a Shelob and Sam image along with a Ringwraith side image. This cover has only been seen with a few Myth & Magic postmarks.

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This cover was also produced signed by various Peter Jackson Movie actors. I have seen Andy Serkis and Orlando Bloom.

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They also produced a Limited Edition Myth & Magic Gold Border cover with the whole set of stamps, featuring a tree image and an elaborate gold border. It was limited to 5000 copies. This cover has only been seen with a few Myth & Magic postmarks.

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This cover was also produced signed by various Peter Jackson Movie actors. I have seen Andy Serkis.

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The next Benham cover is a Myth & Magic Epic Tales cover with the whole set of stamps, featuring Treebeard image and a Hobbit Hole image. It also has an attached Isle of Man crown coin. This cover has only been seen with a few Myth & Magic postmarks.

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This cover was also produced signed. I have seen Christopher Lee and Tolkien scholar Brian Sibley.

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The final Benham cover is a Myth & Magic Epic Gold cover with the whole set of stamps, featuring a 22ct Gold image of a Minas Tirith and round sword emblem. It was limited to 500 copies. This cover has only been seen with a Mountain Holyhead Myth & Magic postmark. Copies were also produced as a duel first day cover with the Isle of Man Peter Jackson Return of the King Movie stamp release from 2003.

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The next Benham covers are in their Pilgrim range and come in a pair of covers with a Pilgrim sword image and half a set of stamps on each cover. These covers have been seen with various Myth & Magic Postmarks. They were limited to 100 copies.

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Those are the major stamp organisations who produced covers for the release. In the next article I will look at the covers produced by smaller organisations, including the Tolkien specific organisations.
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The Battle of Maldon together with the Homecoming of Beorhtnoth

Dec 1 - By emilien

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First ever standalone edition of one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most important poetic dramas, that explores timely themes such as the nature of heroism and chivalry during war, and which features unpublished and never-before-seen texts and drafts.

In 991 AD, vikings attacked an Anglo-Saxon defence-force led by their duke, Beorhtnoth, resulting in brutal fighting along the banks of the river Blackwater, near Maldon in Essex. The attack is widely considered one of the defining conflicts of tenth-century England, due to it being immortalised in the poem, The Battle of Maldon.

Written shortly after the battle, the poem now survives only as a 325-line fragment, but its value to today is incalculable, not just as an heroic tale but in vividly expressing the lost language of our ancestors and celebrating ideals of loyalty and friendship.

J.R.R. Tolkien considered The Battle of Maldon ‘the last surviving fragment of ancient English heroic minstrelsy’. It would inspire him to compose, during the 1930s, his own dramatic verse-dialogue, The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son, which imagines the aftermath of the great battle when two of Beorhtnoth’s retainers come to retrieve their duke’s body.

Leading Tolkien scholar, Peter Grybauskas, presents for the very first time J.R.R. Tolkien’s own prose translation of The Battle of Maldon together with the definitive treatment of The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth and its accompanying essays; also included and never before published is Tolkien’s bravura lecture, ‘The Tradition of Versification in Old English’, a wide-ranging essay on the nature of poetic tradition. Illuminated with insightful notes and commentary, he has produced a definitive critical edition of these works, and argues compellingly that, Beowulf excepted, The Battle of Maldon may well have been ‘the Old English poem that most influenced Tolkien’s fiction’, most dramatically within the pages of The Lord of the Rings.

Book released on the 23rd March 2023
Edited by Peter Grybauskas https://english.umd.edu/directory/peter-grybauskas

Hardback

Affiliate Links

The Battle of Maldon: together with The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth (2023)

HarperCollins (2023-03-30)


£18.40 Amazon.co.uk (Hardcover) - Availability: Preorderable


Deluxe
Book released on the 27th April 2023

Battle of Maldon Deluxe.jpg

Collector’s slipcased edition of the first ever standalone presentation of one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most important poetic dramas, that explores timely themes such as the nature of heroism and chivalry during war, and which features unpublished and never-before-seen texts and drafts.

In 991 AD, vikings attacked an Anglo-Saxon defence-force led by their duke, Beorhtnoth, resulting in brutal fighting along the river Blackwater, near Maldon in Essex. The attack is widely considered one of the defining conflicts of tenth-century England, and is immortalised in the poem, The Battle of Maldon.

Written shortly after the battle, the poem survives only as a 325-line fragment, but its value to today is incalculable. J.R.R. Tolkien considered The Battle of Maldon ‘the last surviving fragment of ancient English heroic minstrelsy’. It would inspire him to compose, during the 1930s, his own dramatic verse-dialogue, The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm’s Son, which imagines the aftermath of the great battle when two of Beorhtnoth’s retainers come to retrieve their duke’s body.

Leading Tolkien scholar, Peter Grybauskas, presents for the first time Tolkien’s own prose translation of The Battle of Maldon together with the definitive treatment of The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth and its accompanying essays; also included and never before published is the lecture, ‘The Tradition of Versification in Old English’. Illuminated with insightful notes and commentary, he offers a definitive critical edition of these works, and argues compellingly that, Beowulf excepted, The Battle of Maldon may well have been ‘the Old English poem that most influenced Tolkien’s fiction’, most dramatically within the pages of The Lord of the Rings.

This slipcased edition includes a colour frontispiece reproducing a page of Tolkien’s original manuscript of The Homecoming, and is printed on acid-free paper with a ribbon marker. It is quarterbound with a unique illustration by Bill Sanderson gold-foiled on grey boards and is housed in a custom-built slipcase. It also includes a digitally remastered recording of The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth read by J.R.R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien, which is available on CD for the first time.

Affiliate Links

The Battle of Maldon: together with The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth (Deluxe) (2023)

HarperCollins (2023-04-27)


£47.79 Amazon.co.uk (Hardcover) - Availability: Preorderable


Kindle

Affiliate Links

The Battle of Maldon: together with The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth

HarperCollins (2023-03-30)


£12.99 Amazon.co.uk (Kindle Edition) - Availability: Preorderable
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Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary UK Stamps - Introduction

Nov 27 - By AndyBirdUK

Arguably the best set of Tolkien related stamps produced are those issued by the UK Royal Mail celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the publication of the Lord of the Rings on 26th February 2004.

This is the first of a series of articles looking at the collectable items available for these stamps. This first article is a basic introduction, I will be looking in more detail, specifically at the First Day Covers available, which is quite involved, in the follow up articles.

As a Tolkien collector, these stamps are a great area to specialise in as there is a surprisingly large number of items to collect, mainly the First Day Covers, and lots of them can be obtained relatively cheaply in the UK, and, being small and flat, postage is affordable. Although hunting down all the items is challenging, but that is the fun of collecting.

There are 10 stamps all featuring Tolkiens own art.

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The basic mint set of the 10 stamps came as a ‘tenant’ block, however they were printed in large double sheets. By breaking down this double sheet, various smaller groups of mint stamps were available, specifically collectable are a whole single sheet, gutter pairs (2 sets with middle border), edged set (giving title and colour ‘traffic lights’), the basic set and individual stamps.

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When the stamps were released, a commemorative Presentation Pack was available. This contained a mint set of the stamps in a themed folder along with a fold out pamphlet which gave details about the 50 years of Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings.

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On the day of issue, 26th February 2004, First Day Covers were available. These are envelopes with the stamps on the front which have been officially cancelled by the Royal Mail with an official postmark for the issue date. Special postmarks must be authorised by the UK Royal Mail and consist of an image and a place of issue in the UK.

UK First Day covers is quite an involved area with a lot of items available, there are a variety of official postmarks and a variety of envelope designs. I will go into more detail on these in the next article.

The Royal Mails own commemorative postmark for the stamps was a JRRT monogram image from Talents House Edinburgh (the address of the Royal Mails Philatelic Bureau).

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Also available, were a set of 10 commemorative postcards of the stamps. These featured a large picture of each stamp.

Note that these postcards could also be stamped and sent on the first day of issue, making the First Day Postcards. I will explore this more in a future article.

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The UK Royal Mail produces a magazine which details the stamps they are about to release. The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary stamps were featured in the January 2004 issue (Volume 41 No 5). The stamps were not featured on the front cover, but there was a 3 page article.

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There was also a Preview pamphlet produced giving details of all the items available from the Royal Mail for the issue.

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The Royal Mail also produced 2 promotional posters to advertise the release. Both posters were identical, one was A4 size (reference S&C359A4) and one was A3 size (reference S&C372A3).

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Folio 75

Nov 24 - By Trotter

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THE COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE FOLIO SOCIETY

Folio 75 is the complete, fascinating record of every edition published by The Folio Society since the company was founded in 1947.

Since 1947 Folio have published more than 2,400 books, including fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose, and culminating in our spectacular 75th anniversary readers’ choice edition, The Neverending Story.

Folio 75 is a complete record of every edition published by Folio – from 1947 to November 2022 – with entries presented by year. Each detailed entry includes the title, author, introducer and illustrator, as well as the book dimensions, type used and publication details.

This bibliography is exclusively available as a free downloadable PDF

https://www.foliosociety.com/folio75
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