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New England Book Auction - Early US Hobbit and 1st Beowulf

Apr 18 (edited)
2021/4/18 2:52:13 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

New England Book Auctions have two Tolkien lots in their April 27 Auction titled 'CATALOGUE 494 GRAPHICS, EPHEMERA & LITERATURE, INCLUDING SELECTIONS FROM MADELEINE L'ENGLE'S LIBRARY". The Hobbit lot is from the library of Madeleine L'Engle and has her ownership signature and inscription in it.

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Lot 205


Tolkien, J. R. R. Beowulf. The Monsters and the Critics. 53 pages. Tall 8vo, printed wrappers (chipped at margins; lacking paper spine, pencil annotations by Henry Bosley Woolf. London, [1937] [150/250] FIRST EDITION. ONE OF 500 COPIES. Hammond & Anderson A2.

Woolf once wrote to Tolkien, and received a response in 1951.

Sold for high bid of $180



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206


The Hobbit. Illustrated. 8vo, publisher's cloth, dust jacket (chipped with loss); moderate wear. Boston, (1930s) [250/350] Eighth Impression. Hugh & Madeleine Franklin's (L'Engle) copies with her inscription on the front decorated endpaper and ink address stamp on the front free blank endpaper.

Sold for high bid of $2750
Apr 28
2021/4/28 3:48:56 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Added final bid results.

The Madeleine L'Engle signature added a significant bump to the Hobbit price, in my mind.
Apr 28
2021/4/28 4:25:34 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Urulókë wrote:

Added final bid results.

The Madeleine L'Engle signature added a significant bump to the Hobbit price, in my mind.

Crikey, it must have done. Which is odd, given she didn't write the book and her signature is inexpensively available.
Apr 28
2021/4/28 5:11:36 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Noticed a damaged letter on page 53, which I had not spotted before.

"These look like good blades", the 'k' in 'look' is damaged. It appears like this from the 1951 (5th Impression) until the text is reset for the 3rd edition 1966 (16th Impression).

10_6088ee5d247fe.jpg 460X116 px
Apr 28
2021/4/28 5:19:19 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Anyone have thoughts on the Beowulf price?
Apr 28
2021/4/28 6:48:58 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Berelach wrote:

Anyone have thoughts on the Beowulf price?

A lot more sensible than the Hobbit price?
Apr 28
2021/4/28 12:44:17 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Stu wrote:

Berelach wrote:

Anyone have thoughts on the Beowulf price?

A lot more sensible than the Hobbit price?

That Hobbit price is silly...I paid a fraction of that for mine in much better shape.
Apr 28
2021/4/28 21:22:22 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Berelach wrote:

Anyone have thoughts on the Beowulf price?

I haven't seen any other 1st edition's like this one recently, doesn't seem exhorbitant to me. There were three bidders near the top of that range.

For the Hobbit, though, the bidding history shows that the #3 bidder dropped out at $1100 (still seems high for that condition in my eye, but again the signature is playing a factor that I just don't have interest in analyzing). The last two people went back and forth in a bidding war from $1200 to $2750.
Apr 29
2021/4/29 19:54:46 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I thought Beowulf would go for more; $180 seems very low to me for a 1937 1st. Granted it’s academic and not Hobbity, but still a collector’s piece, no? Even scruffy I would have thought at least $300. Do I have a mistaken impression of this or am I missing something?
Apr 29
2021/4/29 22:13:22 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Berelach wrote:

I thought Beowulf would go for more; $180 seems very low to me for a 1937 1st. Granted it’s academic and not Hobbity, but still a collector’s piece, no? Even scruffy I would have thought at least $300. Do I have a mistaken impression of this or am I missing something?

Thought it would be a bit more (and also have to factor in buyers commission) - but condition was not great, lacking spine. Maybe would have been a good candidate for rebinding.
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