PBA Galleries - Sale 796: Rare Books & Manuscripts (#796) 09/07/2023 11:00 AM PDT

Lot 90 - The Lord of the Rings trilogy


Name: The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Author: Tolkien, J.R.R.
Place Published: London
Publisher: George Allen & Unwin
Date Published: 1954-1955


Three volumes, comprising:

The Fellowship of the Ring. 1954.
The Two Towers. 1954.
The Return of the King. Second state with sig. 4 and slipped type on p. 49 (this was formerly Hammond’s first state, but the bibliographer has revised his opinion). 1955.

Each volume with a folding map. (8vo) 22x14 cm (8¾x5½"), original red cloth, spines lettered in gilt, dust jackets. First Editions, First Printings.

A complete set of first editions of Tolkien's magnificent trilogy, perhaps the greatest achievement in the realm of fantasy literature. Mounted at the front of the first volume is a small leaf inscribed by Tolkien: “For Mr Hal Coomer in memory of a pleasant meeting & suffering shared, on Whitsunday, 1958. J. R. R. Tolkien.” The two had appeared together on a radio program. The set is accompanied by a letter dated 3 June 1958 from Tolkien’s publisher George Allen & Unwin. In this letter to Coomer, the publisher notes, “We do not normally disclose our author’s addresses, but we know how much Professor Tolkien enjoyed meeting you and are sure that he would like you to write to him direct, ” giving the address in Oxford. Tolkien evidently replied to Coomer’s letter with this inscription to put in his first edition of The Lord of the Rings. Letter from Joy Hill to Hal Coomer • 3 June 1958 (#820)

Tolkien worked on this epic, not so much a trilogy as a long novel, from the publication of The Hobbit (1937) until the early 1950s. Beginning with the appearance of the second edition of 1966 and the nearly simultaneous appearance of the paperback edition in America, The Lord of the Rings became one of the best-selling works of fiction of the century.

The print run of the first edition was small: The Fellowship of the Ring (3000 copies), The Two Towers (3250 copies), and The Return of the King (7000 copies).

The work is considered the “paradigmatic work of modern heroic fantasy... Its success was not immediate, but its publication in paperback was an event sufficiently momentous to transform completely the market situation of heroic fantasy, and hence bring about a new era in its history. The Lord of the Rings made fantasy a significant publishing category and inspired a deluge of new works. The astonishing reception and influence of this work qualify it as one of the most remarkable literary phenomena of the 20th century” (Barron, ed., Fantasy Literature).

Lot Amendments

Jackets with some moderate soiling and wear, spines a bit sunned (3rd volume more than the others), the 1st and 2nd with tape residue at corners and spine ends on the outside and inside, prices are not clipped; 2nd with some offset to endpapers, 3rd endpapers with light foxing; very good condition, with modern custom drop-back half morocco and cloth box.

Estimate USD 35,000 - 45,000

https://pbagalleries.com/lot-details/i ... cf3%3D%26cf4%3D%26cf14%3D

This was for sale by a dealer for USD 42,000 but looks like they have consigned it to this auction https://web.archive.org/web/2023032622 ... /the-lord-of-the-rings-2/