Tolkien Collector's Guide
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Aug 8
2020/8/8 0:59:31 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Sorry if double posting is against forum rules, but for the life of me I can't find that edit button...

Thanks Urulókë for the warm welcome! Although, I'm afraid you've just opened up another can of worms with regards to the color frontispieces! So none of the 1st editions have these?
Aug 8
2020/8/8 1:24:11 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Caudimordax wrote:

Sorry if double posting is against forum rules, but for the life of me I can't find that edit button...

Heh, we had some problems a few years back with a person or two who would post contentious topics, stir up heated responses, and then edit their original posts to make the others look like they were very much overreacting. So editing has been turned off after a small window (a few minutes) to allow for a quick re-read and typo fixing. It will be turned on again when I have revision history supported so you can see all the edits that have been made.

Caudimordax wrote:

Thanks Urulókë for the warm welcome! Although, I'm afraid you've just opened up another can of worms with regards to the color frontispieces! So none of the 1st editions have these?

All of the first editions (that have colour frontispieces at all) have them. They were not always included in later reprints or other editions as cost cutting measures. The POD editions do have them as well, though I am not sure on other editions offhand. I think tolkienbooks.net and tolkienbooks.us note which do and which do not, if I am remembering correctly. Have to go feed the kids dinner now.
Aug 8
2020/8/8 1:42:06 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Urulókë - Ahah, well Tolkien has plenty of verbiage to describe the peril of trolls... Glad you've devised an effective way to combat them! Duly noted on the frontispieces, I'll have another look through the various tokienbookses...

To anyone - Another question popped into mind regarding scarcity vs demand. The Peter Jackson films seem to have triggered a gold rush of purchasing old books, would it not follow that the upcoming Amazon series would have a similar effect? I ask because I worry about prices spiking again... if speculators get a whiff of safe space to hide their money while the global economy reels, I do think they'll take it to an extreme we've never seen before. I don't know how many of you follow the price movements of collectible card games like Magic: The Gathering, but millions of dollars are poured into the vintage market each month. Prices for scarce cards have jumped, in many cases, hundreds of percentage points in the past five years.

I imagine the Amazon series will not quite blow the top off the way the films did, at least not at first. The silver screen of the early 2000's was capable of producing a ton of concentrated hype and exposure, whereas now streaming services featuring AAA-budgeted shows are more and more common.
Aug 8 (edited)
2020/8/8 6:19:26 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
With regards to where prices will go from here -- anybody's guess. We did not see a spike associated with The Hobbit movies (which may simply have been because they were awful).

My personal observation is that most Tolkien books are still getting cheaper. There are some anomalies, though - early (but not VERY early) Hobbits seem to be getting more expensive, whilst top-end really early Hobbits are getting cheaper. People seem to be paying too much for some very mediocre books, whilst some really nice copies are selling at "reasonable prices", and it comes down to buyers simply having no idea what they are doing.

The main warning I would give is that "asking prices != selling prices". There are dealers selling Tolkien books that rely on uninformed fools. A good example is the 1946 Hobbit currently on eBay for £10,000 -- that last sold for £2,500 (after being on sale for a couple of years sub-£2000). These dealers rely on having books up for absurd prices and trying to normalise them. You will see the same dealers trying to sell very overpriced sets of HoME...

Always do your research.
Aug 8
2020/8/8 9:50:55 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Hi, as an owner oh HoME 3 volume deluxe edition (1st print, printed and bound in Great Britain by Clays Ltd, St Ives plc) I should mention that except the deluxe covers it has 0 deluxe qualities. Moreover the quality of printed text has color font shifts. I mean it is about one page printed in a normal black font while the opposite one is pale black (a greyish black color, you know). It happens all over the three volumes all the time: black color quality shifts. It is not an obstacle to read, but really what kind of deluxe it is supposed to be if the font color consistency is already an issue? I've encountered these black color shift issues for the second time. The first time I've seen it in Lord of the Rings 1-volume 60th anniversary edition (https://www.tolkien.co.uk/products/the ... n-alan-lee-9780007525546/). I have also purchased the first print expecting to catch the best print quality but for this edition HarperCollins ran even the first print in China! Really it has been printed and bound by South China Printing Co.

I am very dissatisfied with the quality issues that happens with HarperCollins deluxe editions. Their upcoming Unfinished Tales special edition already makes me doubt if it makes sense to purchase it.

I don't know if photos shows good enough the black color issue, but I attach several ones below.

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Aug 8
2020/8/8 10:49:34 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Indeed, the Clays Deluxe HoME really is a terrible thing to behold. I tried returning my copy to Amazon and it travelled around the world at very great expense (to Amazon), and it boomeranged all the way back to me! The LEGO version is definitely better (albeit still not remotely deluxe).

With HarperCollins, generally speaking expect the worst and they won't disappoint. Very occasionally they will surprise everyone by doing a great job (like the recent Hobbit/LoTR set). 90% of the time, though, the books are very overpriced relative to the quality of the product. Fortunately we have a wealth of used editions pre-HC to choose from (for many titles) and they tend to be inexpensive. If people voted with their wallets more, HC would have to consistently lift their game.
Aug 8
2020/8/8 11:34:04 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
What is better with better with LEGO? What changed? And I am afraid that now they are at 2+ prints and you know what happens after swathing to that prints? They switch to China and even worse quality.

The most obvious example of quality difference that I can show you is "A Reader's Companion: LOTR". I have a 1st edition purchased in 2014 and printed in Italy by LEGO Spa and I also have a 8th print (China, RR Donnelley APS). I purchased the other one because 6 years after purchase I found out that 1st print missed 4 pages (29,30, 31, 32; instead you have a double page 28 vs 33). But really the paper in 1st edition is thin, yellow, heavy, really high quality. The 8th print has paper color shifts from white to yellow, paper is much thicker, but not so strong. And the most impressive - while the 1st print book is 3,5 cm thick the 8th is 5,5 cm thick))) I will show you.

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Aug 8
2020/8/8 11:42:36 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Urulókë wrote:

Oh, and forgot to say "welcome to the site!" Glad you are here, and this is a nice topic to discuss as there are so many options.

I don't have any of the other sets to compare with, that's the only reason I mentioned just the two 12 volume 1st edition runs (which I do have). I haven't focused on collecting the various HoMe sets, as they don't have any new text or interesting illustrations for me. In fact many of the editions don't have the colour frontispieces, so whatever edition you end up with, I would highly recommend finding a set that has those. The black and white reprodutions that I have seen in some reprints were just nowhere near as good.

Further to the mention of colour from Urulókë, here are a couple of examples of how varied results are across a paperback, hardcover, and 3-volume edition.

Firstly The Lays of Beleriand. The hardcover (right image, colour) is presentable, the paperback (2002 blackspine, left image, b&w) is presentable and the 3-volume (lone image, b&w) is poor, still readable but the reproduction is poor.

And if that followed through then fair enough, but when we take a look at Morgoth's Ring things get complicated. The hardcover (right image, colour) is presentable, the paperback (left image, b&w) is very good and the 3-volume (lone image, colour) is excellent. The 3 volume set varies so wildly.

A side note to Urulókë, I have kept the 3-volume edition in almost pristine condition while using it hard, I have covered it in noted but have only used it at a desk. I agree with your assessment that keeping it in good condition while using it regularly would prove difficult and it is being used flat on a desk that has kept it in good condition. I think if I had used it any other way then by now those volumes would be in a terrible condition.

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Aug 8
2020/8/8 23:59:51 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
The pictures you show of the Reader’s Companion are of the 2nd edition, not the 1st with the dark cover. Sorry to hear your 1st impression had pages missing but I don’t think that was a common thing throughout the run. My 1st impression of the 2nd edition has no pages missing and that’s printed by Lego SpA.
Aug 9
2020/8/9 1:52:03 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

wrote:

The pictures you show of the Reader’s Companion are of the 2nd edition, not the 1st with the dark cover. Sorry to hear your 1st impression had pages missing but I don’t think that was a common thing throughout the run. My 1st impression of the 2nd edition has no pages missing and that’s printed by Lego SpA.

I think the missing pages would be quite unusual (my copy is fine). That said, as a reference book, there could be many copies out there with the flaw lying unnoticed. Overall, LEGO tend to do a decent enough job.
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