Tolkien Collector's Guide
The Wonders of...

The Wonders of...

Feb 16, 2009 (edited)

Having just spent a lot of money on what I think is a rare item, eBay often comes up trumps with what can only be described as What???? ... |65%3A3|39%3A1|240%3A1318
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Aug 10, 2014
I too saw this (re-listed; no buyers first time around) & found the marginalia very interesting. Not sure if it's interesting enough to make me want to buy it, but interesting nonetheless. I've been looking for copies of The Silmarillion with contemporary marginalia for quite some time (as early reception of the book itself; & marginalia [as something some readers do] is something I'm very interested in); never seen any copies though...

Aug 12, 2014
Seller: 1973lee1973 (1740)
Ended Aug 17, 2014
[0 Bids]
A great opportunity to grab this eBay 'Acceptable' copy of the Hobbit, though the seller appears to have forgotten to mention that this item is by eBay terms 'Acceptable'.

He does not point out these salient facts, but gives some guidance for budding collectors, and in his excitement forgot to post any pictures of the ex-library stamps.


worthy of any collection
11th impression
would make an excellent addition to any collector / fans collection

some sun marks as per pics and some spine lean, previous owners inscription to FEP, ex-library with stamps, damage to spice(sic) as per pics, some brown (age) spots and dusty page edges

worth much more than the asking price
low starting price, this value only likely to increase with the impending film release.

eBay Item #141373097390

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Aug 21, 2014
Someone got ripped off with this one...

eBay Item #171344306763
Aug 21, 2014
I saw that one. Is it even possible to determine which edition that came from?
Aug 21, 2014

Jlong wrote:
I saw that one. Is it even possible to determine which edition that came from?

It would probably be possible to narrow it down based on the typeface of the GA&U lettering on the spine and the alignment of the three colours in the artwork which varies from impression to impression.

Definitely isn't from any of the first edition printings - can say that much.
Aug 21, 2014

Jlong wrote:
I saw that one. Is it even possible to determine which edition that came from?

Not really, as the main clues would be on the flaps which have been cut off.

You can tell that it was a dust-jacket from a 2nd edition 1954 or later impression, from the George Allen & Unwin on the spine being typed and not hand-written, and it was no later than the last printing of the 3rd edition in 1975, as the size of the word Tolkien and Hobbit on the spine are smaller from 1978.
Aug 23, 2014
For me, this is a "Wonders of" on so many levels

"History of Middle-Earth 3 Volume Box Set, by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Published by Harper Collins in 2002, these are later printings, #1 is a 6th impression, #2 a 5th impression and #3 is a 5th impression".

The wording is ambiguous, but I think this at least hints that this is a 2002 set, but with those impressions, it is the reprint boxed set published a couple of years back (2012, I think), which is still available brand new, and for a lot less money. At least, this should be made clear, especially given the comments about how hard to find the set it is (which definitely implies it is the original set, as that IS hard to find).

"The 3 volumes are all in Near Fine condition, in Near Fine dustjackets, now protected in archival protectors, except for a large bump to the upper left corner of the slipcase and the same corner of book number 1 is bumped as well."

Er.... No. The 3 volumes are NOT in Near Fine condition. Volume 1 is completely knackered. You can't just add "Except for [INSERT MASSIVE DAMAGE HERE]" to the description "Near Fine", otherwise every book in the world could be classed as Near Fine with some qualifier attached.

It has not split the seams of the case or anything more than wrinkled the rear boards of the book. Unfortunately the shipping damage of this type is quite common, due to the very heavy weight of this set, and the fairly fragile nature of the case.

Seriously, this set is knackered, and it is supposed to be OK because "loads of them are knackered". I have to say that mine turned up undamaged from Book Depository, so they didn't all get bumped in the post!

"A very hard to find set, let alone one with the publishers slipcase."

No, it isn't hard to find. Without the slipcase these are two-a-penny and available cheaply. The slipcased set is still available new, given that this is not the original version of this boxed set. Try Book Depository (USD 224 inc. shipping), Amazon ($241), (RRP GBP 180).

It has not split the seams of the case or anything more than wrinkled the rear boards of the book

As per the pictures, the case and first volume are toast from a collectabilty perspective. There are genuinely two near fine volumes there, plus a slipcase and single volume that are fit for the bin. I understand that seriously damaged books can have value to collectors, especially when genuinely rare, but these aren't rare, despite the claims that they are.

I get irked by dealers playing down faults in books, and some dealers are worse than others, especially for the "near fine, except" trick. I know the pictures are all here in this case, so nothing is being hidden, but why the need for the marketing spin?

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Aug 23, 2014
I want to buy a slipcase for my HoMe books.
Someone here could sell to me?
Aug 23, 2014
eBay Item #261571547857

Aug 23, 2014

Please note that the set of HoME that you found fault with my description is no longer listed on my web site. I have notified Beren that they are no longer available. Also, did I miss somewhere where it said 'rare'. I may have said "hard to find", but certainly not rare. At the time they were listed, they were much harder to find then now after many more were issued by Harper Collins.

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