Tolkien Collector's Guide
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Dec 11, 2019 (edited)
2019/12/11 8:05:57 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
What if an envelope is important in a documentary sense in establishing something a letter does not explicitly reveal e.g. date of posting, full identity of recipient, some unique franking aspect, paper, typewriter, etc? These things can be of interest and (if you care about such things) important. Separating them potentially destroys that link, well photographed or not. I'm talking generally here mind you, I have no particular view on this individual item.
Dec 11, 2019 (edited)
2019/12/11 8:47:35 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Khamûl wrote:
What if an envelope is important in a documentary sense in establishing something a letter does not explicitly reveal e.g. date of posting, full identity of recipient, some unique franking aspect, paper, typewriter, etc? These things can be of interest and (if you care about such things) important. Separating them potentially destroys that link, well photoraphed or not. I'm talking generally here mind you, I have no particular view on this individual item.

If it *is* documented, then absolutely nothing is destroyed by their separation. Both items still exist. Any link between the items beyond what has been documented is purely an emotional response. This isn't stuff I personally would buy, but the fact that these things do come for sale is what results in them being documented in the first place. Otherwise, they are just things that sit in private display cases and cupboards, and they don't add any value to anyone other than the owner.

As long as people don't molest and destroy things (which is still their own business, tbh), I just can't see any problem. For me, this seems like far less of a problem than taking a first impression Hobbit and sticking an unrelated cut signature in it. That destroys the signature and the book.

I think that as much as enjoy collecting stuff, at the end of the day it is still just stuff. And even if such stuff might impart information, it is the kind of information that satisfies scholarly curiosity. I genuinely don't believe we are talking about world changing things here (other than to a small few, of course). Digital archives are really where these things (and they information they impart) will be preserved for the future scholars and the curious, I think. I realise this is probably not a popular opinion to have in these parts
Dec 11, 2019
2019/12/11 19:04:43 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Stu, I don't see this as something emotional, just something that is wrong. Like buying a box-set to then remove the books and toss the box away. I get your points of course, I just feel that these types of items are worthy of remaining whole if they have survived as one this long.


Stu wrote:
Digital archives are really where these things (and they information they impart) will be preserved for the future scholars and the curious, I think. I realise this is probably not a popular opinion to have in these parts

That we are heading into 2020 and Tolkien does not have a dedicated online resource for researchers to use is very disappointing. Digital works so well for research and enables the long-term protection of rare and fragile manuscripts. Scan them once, make them available, sell them in high-resolution, widen access and allow others outside a chosen few to really get closer to Tolkien's manuscripts and unpublished works.
Dec 12, 2019
2019/12/12 6:35:39 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Marquette currently doing a digital archive of all the Tolkien manuscripts that they have, only accessible from the Marquette at the moment, but that could change in the future hopefully
Dec 12, 2019
2019/12/12 10:37:34 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Trotter wrote:
Marquette currently doing a digital archive of all the Tolkien manuscripts that they have, only accessible from the Marquette at the moment, but that could change in the future hopefully

We live in hope. John Rateliff has spent a lot of time among the Lord of the Rings manuscripts I gather from his blog updates, where he seems to have ordered them into something new. I hope that work is linked to something in 2020.
Dec 12, 2019
2019/12/12 21:20:05 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

onthetrail wrote:
Stu, I don't see this as something emotional, just something that is wrong. Like buying a box-set to then remove the books and toss the box away. I get your points of course, I just feel that these types of items are worthy of remaining whole if they have survived as one this long.

I think that is where I don't see it that way. The box hasn't been tossed out - someone just stuck it on a different shelf. Would I prefer the books stayed in the box? Sure, and if I owned them I'd certainly keep them together, but I don't, so...
Dec 12, 2019
2019/12/12 21:51:01 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Stu, you're suggesting that you'd still have the box/slipcase. But that's not what's happening here. These are now with different owners; in all likelihood separated forever. But you'd have a photo of the book(s) in the slipcase so that wouldn't matter? Come now, that's nonsense. This is like scattering Tolkien's manuscripts to the wind & claiming their separation doesn't matter because we've got those books Christopher edited. Context is important.
Dec 12, 2019
2019/12/12 22:45:40 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Khamûl wrote:
Stu, you're suggesting that you'd still have the box/slipcase. But that's not what's happening here. These are now with different owners; in all likelihood separated forever. But you'd have a photo of the book(s) in the slipcase so that wouldn't matter? Come now, that's nonsense. This is like scattering Tolkien's manuscripts to the wind & claiming their separation doesn't matter because we've got those books Christopher edited. Context is important.

Well the slipcase example isn't mine. Sure, the slipcase would be on someone else's shelf. Whatever. My point, which I think I was clear on - is that is has not been destroyed. These items you are talking about are OTHER PEOPLE's private property to do with as they like. Why care whether a privately owned item that you can't see or feel is in one collection or two? It just makes no odds at all. I get that people have a hankering for the physical objects, but once an item is documented, the physical object really isn't that important. I'm not going to agree with you guys here, so may as well leave it be, tbh. We aren't talking about 3,000 year old manuscripts where we might be able to learn new information from new analysis techniques of the fibres. We are talking about modern letters on modern paper written by a modern author.

The letter isn't going to get upset about losing its pal, the envelope. Honestly, if two people get enjoyment out of the ownership of these items , rather than one, then who I am I to judge them on that choice.
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