Tolkien Collector's Guide
Buying Tolkien
By Peeta

Buying Tolkien

Apr 27, 2012

Hi, it's been a few years since i've been on this site and i'm really glad i was able to find it again! I first started finding interest in LOTR in high school and early on in college starting a small collection of Tolkien books, now i've been married a couple of years and have found a renewed interest in my collection (mainly the obtaining part!). I never tried to get any early printings of the hobbit or LOTR, mainly because i was only interested in first editions. Obviously i wasn't going to entertain the thought of trying for a 1/1 LOTR and definately not the hobbit!! But recently i got a 1/7 TT and a 2/1 FOTR and ROTK and i love them! I like the history of the books and i think that that is something that has come with getting older and feeling like time is moving faster! So after that long ramble i'll get to the point of this forum (what i have in my mind at least). What should i expect with collecting early editions of LOTR and Hobbit? Are there things you guys with more experience can help me understand, such as when to buy (like with the new Hobbit movie coming out, what does that do to the market?), what is actually collectible, as in what should i want to buy (point being i see it faaarrr down the road to have a 1/1 set of very good LOTR with DJ...), and is there any way to set a value to the later printings? This is a late night post so i hope i made some sense! Thanks to all who read this and thanks to all who reply!
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Apr 30, 2012
People are still paying pretty high prices for any first edition sets in decent condition. For example, all the GA&U boxsets (with various 1960's impressions) that are really smart (i.e. VG or better) are still selling at £200+. Some of the finer sets are going for ~£400. I don't think this is bad.

But your best bet, if your going to go for a 1st/1st set, is to assemble it yourself, I'd say. RK 1st impressions (in various states) seem to be on eBay literally every week. I've recorded dozens selling this year. And they're not going for that much.

I agree with Jlong --I wouldn't personally go anywhere near £100 for anything less than 1955/56 impressions, in decent shape. After the first few years (i.e. 1954/55/56; and the 1st few impressions), you shouldn't need to spend much more than about £75 to get hold of a decent copy. Really fine examples always go for more though. Really depends on how keen you are on acquiring early impressions, & how much money you have...

BH
May 1, 2012
Thanks, that helps give me some better perspective! Older editions of LOTR is new to me but I've been collecting HOME books for a while and know generally what they're worth. But people's of middle earth I don't know so much about. Would a nice copy be worth £300? And does the DJ being priced or not matter? ( I assume unpriced jackets were copies that came to the US) thanks for all the help!
May 1, 2012
Prices for PoME have been falling quite a bit lately. This year in particular has seen quite a few eBay prices under £200. There is one up right now for £150 (Interesting eBay Auctions).

Ahh, the old domestic (priced) "export" (unpriced) dilemma. The simple fact, despite what the export copies were produced first crowd say --is that unpriced copies (or at least the jackets) were (regardless of any other market) definitely produced with the express intent of distribution to Book Clubs. Therefore, there is no way you can disassociate the unpriced copies from the Book Club taint. One can call them "export" copies if you like; one can claim they were produced first (& claim some sort of chronological superiority) --but you can't say they aren't Book Club copies. Of course, you might not care if they are Book Club copies --but the book market does, normally, seem to care about this.

BH
May 1, 2012

Khamul wrote:
Prices for PoME have been falling quite a bit lately. This year in particular has seen quite a few eBay prices under £200. There is one up right now for £150 (Interesting eBay Auctions).

Ahh, the old domestic (priced) "export" (unpriced) dilemma. The simple fact, despite what the export copies were produced first crowd say --is that unpriced copies (or at least the jackets) were (regardless of any other market) definitely produced with the express intent of distribution to Book Clubs. Therefore, there is no way you can disassociate the unpriced copies from the Book Club taint. One can call them "export" copies if you like; one can claim they were produced first (& claim some sort of chronological superiority) --but you can't say they aren't Book Club copies. Of course, you might not care if they are Book Club copies --but the book market does, normally, seem to care about this.

BH


Agreed. A fine priced PoME shouldn't be more than 200 pounds these days. Unpriced perhaps a little less.
May 1, 2012
So you all are not going to be bidding on this copy huh?!
May 2, 2012
Also on the topic of HoME, is a price label added after being price clipped mean much in terms of what the book was intended for and collectible value? a few years ago i bought a 1/1 Book of Lost Tales that has an A&U sticker on it and i remember someone telling me that that was good, a bonus in a way. But that book was not price clipped and did not have a price, just the sticker. Thanks, and it looks like there's someone who wants that PoME!
May 2, 2012

Peeta wrote:
So you all are not going to be bidding on this copy huh?!


Nope, already got a priced one and an unpriced one. I think that is me done with copies of PoME!
May 2, 2012
Once Stu has finished boasting... you know he'll maybe take a picture of them both on top of one of his cars for you!

Peeta, the stickers on BoLT I & BoLT II (& Shaping --but more complicated) are the priced copies; there are no jackets with printed prices --GA&U utilised stickers. Therefore it can be hard to tell copies that were never priced, from ones that have simply had the sticker removed (or removed through wear). Sometimes you'll see people mention sticker residue i.e. it had a sticker, it doesn't now. Although, keep in mind, Guild/BCA (Book Club) had there own marked copies for the early numbers of HoME --so unmarked copies of BoLT probably genuinely were for export i.e. commonwealth copies.

You could, of course, try to assemble as set of both priced & unpriced...

BH
May 3, 2012
Thanks khamul, that helps! Does anyone want to take on what the price sticker situation with Shaping and after is? i assume that some of it is just inflation so they took the old price off and put a higher price on via sticker, but...was there something else going on? thanks

Khamul wrote:
Once Stu has finished boasting... you know he'll maybe take a picture of them both on top of one of his cars for you!

Peeta, the stickers on BoLT I & BoLT II (& Shaping --but more complicated) are the priced copies; there are no jackets with printed prices --GA&U utilised stickers.
May 3, 2012

Khamul wrote:
Once Stu has finished boasting... you know he'll maybe take a picture of them both on top of one of his cars for you!

BH



Funny you should say that, as when I got home today, I found that my copies of Peoples had been out for a drive. The priced one was in the drivers seat, obviously...

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