Tolkien Collector's Guide

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Dec 5, 2018
2018/12/5 0:10:32 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Wow! High price, but not that surprising.
Dec 5, 2018
2018/12/5 6:52:29 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I was bidding, but once it went over 50.000 USD I had to let it go... much much interest, 3 telephone bidders, 3 bidders in the room and probably many internet bidders. Crazy amount, but I guess this is how it goes. These are items that are worth exactly what the crazy man desires to pay for it :)
Hope it goes to the right home.
Dec 5, 2018
2018/12/5 14:06:33 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Beren wrote:
I was bidding, but once it went over 50.000 USD I had to let it go... much much interest, 3 telephone bidders, 3 bidders in the room and probably many internet bidders. Crazy amount, but I guess this is how it goes. These are items that are worth exactly what the crazy man desires to pay for it :)
Hope it goes to the right home.

I stopped at $25,000. :( Why on earth did I stay awake till 5:00AM for this auction?
Dec 5, 2018 (edited)
2018/12/5 20:32:27 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
This is just "find a bigger fool", IMHO.

Anyone who wants to pay this kind of money for a piece of paper is either super-wealthy (and realistically it is likely just another item to be tossed into a speculative collection) or simply hopes to flip the item to a bigger fool later on in a calculated risk. Certainly other than for the non super-wealthy (where this is likely pocket change), there is definitely a point where wanting to own something too much makes the buyer too much like Gollum in my eyes. Collecting should be fun, but if the desire for *any* physical object is too strong (be it a car, a boat, a manuscript page), then it is just a sickness.

"Collecting to flip" exploded the real estate market in the US some years back (and about to do the same in the Australia), the classic car market (several times previously -- currently inflating again), and is really just a manifestation of greed.

To me it feels like absolute madness, given the high resolution imagery available, which caters for any academic interest.
Dec 6, 2018
2018/12/6 5:49:14 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Stu wrote:
This is just "find a bigger fool", IMHO.

Anyone who wants to pay this kind of money for a piece of paper is either super-wealthy (and realistically it is likely just another item to be tossed into a speculative collection) or simply hopes to flip the item to a bigger fool later on in a calculated risk. Certainly other than for the non super-wealthy (where this is likely pocket change), there is definitely a point where wanting to own something too much makes the buyer too much like Gollum in my eyes. Collecting should be fun, but if the desire for *any* physical object is too strong (be it a car, a boat, a manuscript page), then it is just a sickness.

"Collecting to flip" exploded the real estate market in the US some years back (and about to do the same in the Australia), the classic car market (several times previously -- currently inflating again), and is really just a manifestation of greed.

To me it feels like absolute madness, given the high resolution imagery available, which caters for any academic interest.

Being an avid collector of artworks and having collected various other collectibles, there is nothing ridiculous about the outcome of this auction. Just a simple play of supply and demand dictating the pricing.

But hey, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. To me, if I had far more disposable income, it would’ve been foolish of me to pass up on this offer. Unlike majority of the artworks, this simple manuscript also has profound historicity attached to it, not to mention its insane rarity (only two LOTR manuscripts sold in major auctions in the past 60 years).
Dec 6, 2018 (edited)
2018/12/6 6:16:04 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

The_Antiquarian wrote:

Stu wrote:
This is just "find a bigger fool", IMHO.

Anyone who wants to pay this kind of money for a piece of paper is either super-wealthy (and realistically it is likely just another item to be tossed into a speculative collection) or simply hopes to flip the item to a bigger fool later on in a calculated risk. Certainly other than for the non super-wealthy (where this is likely pocket change), there is definitely a point where wanting to own something too much makes the buyer too much like Gollum in my eyes. Collecting should be fun, but if the desire for *any* physical object is too strong (be it a car, a boat, a manuscript page), then it is just a sickness.

"Collecting to flip" exploded the real estate market in the US some years back (and about to do the same in the Australia), the classic car market (several times previously -- currently inflating again), and is really just a manifestation of greed.

To me it feels like absolute madness, given the high resolution imagery available, which caters for any academic interest.

Being an avid collector of artworks and having collected various other collectibles, there is nothing ridiculous about the outcome of this auction. Just a simple play of supply and demand dictating the pricing.

But hey, everyone is entitled to their own opinions. To me, if I had far more disposable income, it would’ve been foolish of me to pass up on this offer. Unlike majority of the artworks, this simple manuscript also has profound historicity attached to it, not to mention its insane rarity (only two LOTR manuscripts sold in major auctions in the past 60 years).

Of course it is supply and demand (and like I say, it is highly probably it was just pocket change for the person who purchased it). I still think it is absurd. I'm not sure there is anything profound about it, mind. I'm obviously a Tolkien fan, but this is still just a manuscript page from a novel... It is certainly interesting, but the photograph is as interesting as the actual item.

That said, I find collecting absurd. I enjoy it (within very constrained parameters that ensure it is not just investment pretending to be collecting). Art is just too risky as investment unless you are very wealthy, IMHO (in which case you can ride the drastic value changes over the long term).

I mean, being honest, even I could afford to buy this item (at the $81,000), but I'd have to pretty damn sure I wouldn't lose money on it (i.e. that I would be certain of finding someone daft enough to pay even more at some point). At $25,000 that is probably a safe bet (which is presumably why you dropped out at that amount?). At $81,000, I'm not sure that is so safe.

Certainly not intending any offence to anyone who feels differently, by the way. Like I say, when I see people salivating over physical things, I genuinely do see Gollum. I have the Professor to thank for that
Dec 6, 2018
2018/12/6 9:55:50 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Something I wondered about with this item was about ownership.

The seller, given that this was not returned to Tolkien surely stole it? Technically that is. I am not suggesting it was pocketed in an act of theft. But maybe misplaced and found after or just deemed unimportant by the printers.

So, if Marquette had wanted, could they have made a play for this item by claiming it should always have belonged to them? Christopher Tolkien after all recognized their legal and rightful ownership of pages long after his father sold the collection with oversight being the reason. A manuscript page being 'stolen' would surely leave some questions over ownership. If I suddenly turned up with an original MS page Iw ould surely be obliged to explain the lineage.

Tolkien was approached by Ready some time in 1956 and the transfer of pages began shortly after. If this page had been returned then it would have found its way into the Marquette archives and this sale would not have happened.
Dec 6, 2018
2018/12/6 17:53:46 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

onthetrail wrote:

So, if Marquette had wanted, could they have made a play for this item by claiming it should always have belonged to them? Christopher Tolkien after all recognized their legal and rightful ownership of pages long after his father sold the collection with oversight being the reason. A manuscript page being 'stolen' would surely leave some questions over ownership. If I suddenly turned up with an original MS page I would surely be obliged to explain the lineage.

No, they can't.

How do you know that Tolkien did not give the item to someone at the printers or GA&U?

The problem is that everyone involved in this is no longer alive, so even though I agree with you, it is not possible to make a legal case that would stand up in court.
Dec 6, 2018
2018/12/6 18:12:48 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

No, they can't.

How do you know that Tolkien did not give the item to someone at the printers or GA&U?

The problem is that everyone involved in this is no longer alive, so even though I agree with you, it is not possible to make a legal case that would stand up in court.

Fair point Trotter.
Dec 6, 2018
2018/12/6 21:10:24 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
"only two LOTR manuscripts sold in major auctions in the past 60 years"

Does anyone know what the other MS was, or anything more about its sale?
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