The Nature of Middle-Earth
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Tolkien Collector's Guide
May 11
2021/5/11 7:35:22 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Khamûl wrote:

I actually just had a look at when I bought my 1961 copy. It was 2009! :O

Only £39 at the time. So, 10 years, ten times the price? Seems like a warped market.


Yeah, totally whack - I paid around £40 each for both the 12th and 13th, both a couple of years ago. One eBay (no other bids) and the other via Abe.
May 11
2021/5/11 9:44:30 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Yeah I hear you Stu and Khamul. These days to find a 2nd/12th at £100 is almost impossible (never mind £40). I'm willing to pay that (but not £300). At the same time in 5 years from now finding a 2nd/12th Hobbit at £250 might be almost impossible. Hard to say.

As a new collector I have to operate in todays market to some extent (without succumbing to the most horrific prizes). I almost wish my Tolkien interest had stayed purely scholarly, but now i have just fallen in love with the physical piece of art that is a book as well....and hello yes it's addictive :)
May 11
2021/5/11 20:37:02 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

northman wrote:

Yeah I hear you Stu and Khamul. These days to find a 2nd/12th at £100 is almost impossible (never mind £40). I'm willing to pay that (but not £300). At the same time in 5 years from now finding a 2nd/12th Hobbit at £250 might be almost impossible. Hard to say.

As a new collector I have to operate in todays market to some extent (without succumbing to the most horrific prizes). I almost wish my Tolkien interest had stayed purely scholarly, but now i have just fallen in love with the physical piece of art that is a book as well....and hello yes it's addictive :)

If you desperately need one, £100 isn't that terrible, I guess. One question that I would ask - given that the market is so silly at the moment - does collecting a Hobbit (or really any Tolkien) make that much sense right now? Honestly, back when I started collecting "properly", if prices had been what they are now, I just wouldn't have bothered. Over the 14 years I have been on this site, most of the new "addicts" go mad for a year and then disappear (collectors have their own "mini-bubbles" of enthusiasm). I'm not trying to put you off, but if everyone suddenly thinks collecting Tolkien is a great idea, it probably isn't - so I'd definitely say "don't get to stressed about it".
May 11 (edited)
2021/5/11 20:56:06 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I'm in agreement with Stu and Khamûl here - there's absolutely no need to "buy now because prices are going up" - prices *will* come down again, for everything except silly-money books (Signed first impression hobbits, Songs for the Philologists, etc.) For those, there's no telling for certain, but if you are buying it as an investment, you are already rich enough to not care how that investment performs.

For me, the hunt is much more fulfilling than the possession - I am fine if it takes me another 5-10 years to fill holes on my wishlist, or if they never get filled at all. My collecting habits reflect this pretty accurately, I think. I focused on Tolkien's scholarly writings for a while and got quite a few, and then the last holes in the set almost never show up on the market so that area of collecting for me slowed down (still monitored and hopeful, but almost never anything buyable). I've since added an intense focus on fanzines from the early years (50s-60s primarily), and have well over 1000 issues in that part of my collection - again, still actively looking to fill holes, but it is down to a handful of finds per year compared to when I started out and could find interesting issues for a few dollars every week. So now I have other areas of focus that are also interesting to me, and tickle my collecting bug on a regular, inexpensive basis, while I wait for the occasional big-ticket item to show up.

I just got a very nice 9th impression Two Towers (Houghton Mifflin) yesterday from an eBay auction I won for about $40 (plus tax and shipping bringing it to just over $50). These first edition impressions are hot right now, and regularly listing (and selling!) for well over $100 and upwards of $200 for the later impressions. Patience and not overbidding will pay off if you just set a budget, stick to it, and don't worry about all the ones that get away.

Seller: fishingguitars
(577)
Ended Apr 28, 2021
$43.09
[9 Bids]
Submitted by: Urulókë
May 11
2021/5/11 22:28:09 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I hear you. I'm trying to stay away from the most outrageous stuff. For me it's not about investment at all. It's just a new (and addictive) part of my Tolkien interest. Today i found out you can get Mr Bliss first print for £20 and that makes me happy :)

If you pour 4 pints in me i can give a 30 minute monologue on the shibboleth of feanor, but until a couple of months ago i had no idea how the 30's-70's dustjacket for the Hobbit looked like. Turns out it's really beautiful, not to mention all the beautiful paperbacks, that grey suede LotR that looks so comfy to read....etc etc :)
May 15
2021/5/15 8:46:05 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
May 15
2021/5/15 12:37:29 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Man, if any of you pull a gun on me over my collection...I'll be very upset
May 19
2021/5/19 19:48:51 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Looking at first edition LotRs on ebay and AbeBooks the past few weeks. It seems later impressions more and more are priced at £1000 - £2500. The few sets priced at £300 - £600 seem to either have mangled dustjackets or facsimiles.

I was thinking that the rather pretty-looking two towers/RotK that Uruloke linked in the ebay section is not a bad deal in this market. Prices for early impressions are ridiculous...though i did see one from 1956/1957 I think with one missing jacket and 2 shabby jackets at £250.
May 19
2021/5/19 20:02:12 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I've found you can find deals on individual volumes more so than complete sets, so you can assemble a set that way.

Also look at how long an item has been listed for sale, the longer it has been up the more likely a seller might negotiate with you, although some dealers are willing to wait months or even years to get their asking price.
Jun 22
2021/6/22 22:02:02 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I think I've largely lost interest in looking at eBay and Abe now. I've even switched off my email notifications. The chase is the fun bit, but I don't feel like there is anything sensible to chase at this point. Weird times.
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