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Re: A new collection

Subject: Re: A new collection
by Parmastahir on 2008/1/1 7:28:07

Hi Tom -

You know not the peril of asking a collector about her/his collection! It is akin to asking a Hobbit about genealogy! I will simply say that I collect Tolkien calendars. You can find my catalog/collection at:


I started the Tolkien Calendar Collecting thread in these forums under Calendars, Posters, and Other Artwork. If you wish to know more about me and the book collectors who frequent this forum, check out the collector profiles at:


Pieter's site is about the best on the web for information on the (hardcover) books. You should also read his page about collecting in general.

I can tell that you have the collector gene from your third post. As Pieter stated, the question is "What to collect?" I think it is somewhat like choosing one's major in college. You may start out with one thing and wind up with another. Unless you are René van Rossenberg of Tolkienwinkel, you can not collect everything. But you will probably try a number of different things and then realize what it is that gives you the most satisfaction.

And that is what collecting is all about. It is not about the monetary value of one's collection. It is about the enjoyment that you get from it, and I can state (and many times have) that the best part of collecting is the people that one meets (if only virtually, for the most part) in one's quest. The paperbacks may be a good place to start. It is still possible to collect them in quite good condition and at a reasonable prices.

The next question is where to find them. eBay is an obvious site. There are also many on-line booksellers (including Rown's Books [hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink ], Amazon.com, etc) where you can find current and older items.

Which brings me to prices: I have obtained a lot of items on eBay. It is VERY easy to overpay for an item. My best advice (through hard won experience) is to watch a number of auctions for items of interest to you and get a feel for the market (what are things selling for? how rare is an item?) before buying a lot of items. Unless an item is truly rare (post questions here about items for advice on this), it WILL appear again (trust me on this!) So set a limit and try to stick to it. You will undoubtedly find the best "treasures" are those that you "get for a song".

Which brings me to condition: Condition affects (or certainly should) the value of an item. Ask the seller LOTS of questions about the condition of the books: Edition/impression/publisher/printer? Any markings or inscriptions? Stains or foxing? Creases? Dustjacket condition (same questions)?

Take some time (as you are doing now) to learn the terminology of the items. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS! At worst, you'll get no answer. That is not my experience in these forums. However, these are message boards NOT IM. So you will have to be patient and wait for responses. (With the holidays, I am not certain that the regulars have been visiting.)

Re the green boxed set: The books all have the Barbara Remington covers; they are not green. When put side-by-side, they form a triptych (which was sold as a very large poster in the late 60s/early 70s and is now very hard to find and therefore very collectible). Sorry, I'm not willing to part with it. I discovered it on eBay earlier this year and found that the seller was located in the town next to me. It is in almost perfect condition and the books are all second printings. But such an item is entirely possible to collect.

Two points to make: (1) "The answer is always 'no' if you don't ask." So, you should always ask someone if they are willing to part with an item. (2) "The thrill is in the hunt." Once you have decided upon what to collect (or you suddenly realize after looking at your collection that you are a .... collector [fill in the blank]), there is the excitement of discovering a new item. For instance, I have been collecting the calendars for years. Still, I added 51 new or previously undiscovered calendars to my catalog last year and was fortunate to collect 47 of them. Thus, I added four more to my "To Get" list!

Like college, I think my best advice is to collect a number of different things initially. You will eventually figure out what you enjoy the most and concentrate on that. I am OCD about the calendars, but had a fascination with the Ace and early Ballantine paperback issues (and they were entirely affordable!) It would be fun to find each of the Ace volumes in excellent condition and assemble a set.

And I know EXACTLY what you mean by "something of REAL significance". That is what drives my quest. The title of my website is that quest. I wish to make it a complete collection and obtain at least one copy of every calendar that I can discover. Within that collection, "my precious" is the 1974 A&U calendar that JRRT inscribed for a colleague.

The "impression" of a book is the same as the "printing". It may be a difference in terms between British and American English. For the earlist impressions/printings, there is a number line on the page following the title page. If it shows "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1", then it is a first impression. However, that does NOT make it a first edition. JRRT edited the LotR to correct some errors and inconsistencies in the story. So what you are reading today is the second edition. Christopher Tolkien's HoME series is all about (in VERY GREAT detail) how the books evolved. And yes, for the paperbacks that you are talking about, the printing is very clearly stated on that page.

Hope this helps. Ask all the questions that you wish. As others have helped (and continue to help) me, I will help you as I can.

Happy New Year and Good Luck!

Away from The Green Hill Country,

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