Tolkien Collector's Guide
Ebay Signature & Sketch
By Jlong

Ebay Signature & Sketch

Jul 7, 2009

Here is an interesting signature with a sketch. What do you guys think? ... 2|39%3A1|293%3A1|294%3A50
Load previous replies
Jul 14, 2009
Thanks Andrew.
Jul 14, 2009
Here is an image of the centerpiece of my Tolkien collection. This is a letter typed and signed by Tolkien to a little girl in 1964. The little girl was Lisa Gell-mann, daughter of Murray Gell-mann (the 1969 Nobel Prize winner in physics). I contacted Dr. Gell-mann about this letter and he actually responded to me saying his daughter had lost the letter at Princeton University in the late sixties. I bought the letter from a person who found it in a box in an attic at Princeton several years ago. The letter is on Tolkien's private Basildon Bond stationary and includes the original post marked envelope.

Jul 14, 2009
The picture did not come out very well, very small. Do you have a larger picture?

It appears someone paid US $321.99 for the fake signature.
Jul 14, 2009

Email me at and I'll send you a clearer image.

Jul 14, 2009
Not me thanks to you. The sketch was cool though.
Jun 12, 2011
I possess an orange pencil sketch that is a portrait of Tolkien. About 10" by 12". It is quite expertly done in fact, although there is a Tolkien signature in the bottom right which is naturally to be mistrusted. However, the signature is also more convincing than most of the fakes that I have seen - at least to my eyes.
I was intrigued by the thread on this site from 2009 from Gondor59, who spoke of an eBay seller who had a Tolkien pencil portrait for sale, and that he almost bid on it.
Your response to him led me to wonder whether the one I have might actually be the same portrait Jlong saw on eBay. When I clicked on the eBay link, it was of course expired and unavailable for viewing.
A few of the things you said about why the signature was fake tally with the one I have, but most things do not.
I was not the person who paid $321.99 on eBay! I did not pay a huge amount for the one I have, so I have no pressing urgency to determine the authenticity (or otherwise) of the signature. The sketch itself was well enough done to make it worth the expense.
The biggest red flag about it all for me is that the sketch is in an orange pencil, and the only signature is in a black ink pen. Why wouldn't the artist have signed it? And why WOULD Tolkien have? Unless it were a memento of an informal gathering: "you draw my portrait, and I'll provide my signature" sort of thing.
I'm quite convinced Tolkien himself didn't draw it. I know of no attempts he might have made to draw himself; and although he was an artist, this seems quite unlike the sort of drawing he was prone to do.
I have just joined the site, so I haven't figured out how to upload a photo of it - if indeed that is possible. In any event, I have misplaced my digital camera. I know you cannot say much about it without being able to see it, unless you recall specifically after all this time that the sketch was done in orange.
How might I get a copy of the picture to you? A scan? Or wait till my camera shows up?

Jun 12, 2011
Welcome lbdkbd. Just wait to find your misplaced camera; unless by misplaced you mean lost.

It's quite easy to post pictures up. Someone can talk (or type) you through it if you're having any difficulty.

Jun 13, 2011
lbdkbd I have sent you a private message about this item (if it is the picture below).

10_4df58e2f47a25.jpg 410X514 px
Jun 14, 2011
It is indeed one and the same.
How do I access the private message?
You can also email me at, if that helps.

Thanks for the quick response!
Jul 23, 2011
I forgot to mention that this picture appears on Beren's web site in his article

Avoid Buying Fake Tolkien Signatures
Jump to Last