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Winner of the 2019 Tolkien Society award for Best Website

25 Feb, 2018
2018-2-25 3:43:30 PM UTC
I have that reputation. (Richly deserved, at a time, but hopefully I've mellowed since then....)
25 Feb, 2018
2018-2-25 3:55:28 PM UTC
Here is a genuine Christopher Tolkien signature surely

eBay Item #232300407156
25 Feb, 2018
2018-2-25 4:03:21 PM UTC
Has a COA "if you want one" too! Bonus.

25 Feb, 2018
2018-2-25 4:26:27 PM UTC

Khamûl wrote:
Has a COA "if you want one" too! Bonus.


But would the COA, "if you wanted it", be signed by CT, stating that he signed it.
25 Feb, 2018
2018-2-25 4:29:02 PM UTC
What about the statement in the Smith of Wootton Major auction: "We believe these [authentic signatures] will rise in value dramatically pretty soon." Is that supposed to mean, when Christopher is no longer with us? As a matter of fact, genuine Christopher signatures are not all that rare.

For what it's worth, we have many examples of both signatures, and Christopher explained to us too about his two versions. At Mythcon in 1987 Christina asked him to sign firsts of both volumes of The Book of Lost Tales. He deliberately signed one with his "slow" signature, and one with the "quick", each with his regular handwriting for the rest of the inscription.

Wayne & Christina
25 Feb, 2018
2018-2-25 4:36:22 PM UTC
Hi all, quite the conversation you have managed to have while I was peacefully asleep here in the GMT-7 timezone!

First I want to say that I appreciate everyone trying to have a civil discourse even when disagreeing with each other. This is a public forum, and disparate opinions will happen and will be allowed as long as everyone can keep on topic and not move to personal attacks.

With that in mind, Mark, welcome to the discussion here. Please refrain from personal attacks such as the following

There are certain regular users on this forum quite naive about Tolkien collectible values and the history. Its shows mostly they are ignorant, not real collectors and find any price above the original cover price "too expensive".

You are welcome to disagree on how much items would sell for (certainly, with evidence such as ebay sales records whether from your own store or others) but know that there is plenty of buyer/seller/collector experience behind the person at the other end of the conversation, including data from other prior sales and currently available online listings as evidence for what similar items have sold for or can be bought for.

As the market moves, prior history will of course not guarantee future sales and there is a lot of "art" rather than "science" for a dealer to decide upon what price to list an item for. That dealer may regret selling and item for less than they could have, or they may accept a "best offer" (to use eBay as an example) when the right buyer comes along and the dealer decides perhaps their asking price was a bit too high.

People looking to buy Tolkien collectible books will find items from you and your storefronts online, Mark. They will see your claims of experience and long history and positive eBay feedback score and your offer of COAs. These will create an initial sense of trust and respect and quite often will lead to a sale at or near your asking prices.

I personally feel that there is no problem with being the most expensive dealer in an area of specialty - after all, someone has to be! I am not specifically calling you out here Mark as the most expensive, but hopefully you and I can agree that you are in the upper range...? With that in mind, what I do have a problem with is when listings have verifiable inaccuracies in them. I do feel that I see these pretty consistently in your listings. One example I will give here just because it came to my attention this morning when getting ready to write this post, but I can certainly provide more if you need them:

eBay Item #263345912646

"Ideally you should have one of each dust jacket in your collection as well as an American edition from 1978." The first American edition was published simultaneously with the UK edition on 15 September 1977. (Hammond A15c, p. 221) A trivial point for this particular listing, but these happen with regularity in your listings.

In addition, there are questionable signed items that have been seen offered for sale online. Questionable meaning that the centuries of combined experience here feel that the items may be fake. Please, for the sake of this conversation, understand that I am not pointing a finger at you in this case. Can we agree that there are fake signatures sometimes for sale online? If you ran across one that you were absolutely certain, in your considered opinion, was fake, would you want that item to sell to an unsuspecting buyer? Or would you speak up somehow?
25 Feb, 2018
2018-2-25 4:40:11 PM UTC

Once again, I am sure that in your 30 year's knowledge of Tolkien, that you know who Wayne & Christina are, but just in case you have also put them in the category of We are one of the oldest and largest specialty Tolkien dealers. Our feedback and status makes clear our reputation. If interested in collecting and investing, speak with professional, specialized dealers, not opinionated bloggers.

But if they have escaped you then please have a look at their Blog, which is not in any way "opionionated"
25 Feb, 2018 (edited)
2018-2-25 6:37:34 PM UTC

Mark D. Faith wrote:
There are certain regular users on this forum quite naive about Tolkien collectible values and the history. Its shows mostly they are ignorant, not real collectors and find any price above the original cover price "too expensive"

Mark D. Faith wrote:
In the meantime, as officially signed collectors editions, I hold to my original post that they are valuable, contrary to the OP, but I'll add, not as valuable as books actually signed by CT. With a COA signed by CT, they would be worth that much more.

Mark, you do realise that the OP (me) didn't say that the book was not valuable, just that $1,700 was (IMHO) too high. FWIW, I paid just shy of £600 for this book (and at the time that was the highest I had seen it sell for. I knowingly paid a little over the odds). Are you able to comprehend that a book can be significantly worth more than the original RRP, but that doesn't mean it has to be worth some magical number plucked out of the air, when there is a long-term record of (infrequent) selling prices for the title? The value of books is determined by the market at any given time and there are usually many data points to help figure out what the real-world value is. Past sales on eBay are usually a good indicator. Dealer asking prices are an entirely worthless indicator.

As an example from your own website:
eBay Item #232552157582
You are asking for £250 for this book. Ordinarily this sells in fine condition on eBay for less than a 10th of that. Is your price to be considered the right one? There are numerous examples on your site that also raise eyebrows in terms of the asking price having absolutely no relationship to the normal eBay selling price. Maybe you could enlighten us as to what you paid for that Sir Gawain? ... 0&LH_Sold=1&LH_Complete=1

You are free to ask whatever price you want for your books, and the market is equally free to (a) decline to purchase, and (b) comment on the asking prices. Dealers get to ask more because they have the book on hand, rather than waiting for a year (perhaps) to get a better deal on eBay or elsewhere. That's a service dealers provide (and there is a premium for that), but generally, the premium for purchasing from a dealer is not, however, 1000%. I'd personally call that predatory (no matter who the seller), and it certainly isn't behaviour I would be engaging in selling books myself. But, questions of my own personal morality aside, you are free to ask any price you wish (and that is as it should be in a free market. It is up to buyers to educate themselves to they pay fair value).

Nevertheless, I'm glad I posted, and I am glad you have responded. Once this "conversation" is done and dusted, I'm hoping the relevant section of the thread will be reposted where it is easier for people to find. You have an opinion and I think, except where you are rude -- which is often -- people should have equal opportunity to read it.

FWIW, what you say about CT signatures contradicts everything I have ever read. It contradicts Hammond & Scull (see earlier post). It also implies that the signatures on the signed CoH, S&G, both Superdeluxe and bookplated are also fake, given CT used the identical style on all these books. In fact, implies that every official signing since the 1987 Hobbit first 100 copies has been an orchestrated deception.

Are you willing to put in writing whether you believe the signatures in the books stated above were also faked by HarperCollins (as you have already suggested they faked the Silmarillion signatures)? In for a penny, in for a pound, and all that.

Is it really that inconceivable that HarperCollins didn't just send the sheets to CT for him to sign and that he has a different style for mass signings?

Also, the idea that CT would sign a COA to go along with his signature on the actual book to state his other signature is genuine is absurd. Lets leave that kind of thing to the manufacturers of tacky collectibles...

I would trust the opinions of the "bloggers" that you so despise* over the sometimes demonstrably wrong (and usually self-serving) things that you sometimes feel the need to commit to writing. Your statement that these 1998 Sil signatures are fake is, by the way, demonstrably wrong.

*This isn't blog, it is a discussion forum. I personally have never had a blog and am not a blogger.
26 Feb, 2018 (edited)
2018-2-26 12:55:07 AM UTC
I see the same 2-3 posters having a go at me and my business, as they have in the past. Its been going on for what, nearly a decade? I'm still in business, doing better than ever and they still have nothing better to do but promote false and misleading information about Tolkien collectibles and me. Like a pack of terriers, lots of noise and nipping, they just don't give up. Its funny also to see posts about not making personal attacks, yet they go on to do just that? I've not responded in the past, but felt the continued misinformation, recently pointed out by a customer, really should be addressed. But as no other collector customers, out of more than 1000, ever mentions this site, I'm not sure it really matters? If I help one reader avoid the lies of these same regular posters and other misleading posts raised on this site, it was worth the hour I spent here. You go on telling people something isn't worth it, so I can continue to buy it up and make a nice living, which pays for my own collecting. I guess I should be thanking you? Goodbye, good luck, and get a life you three. I mean really...
26 Feb, 2018
2018-2-26 1:36:59 AM UTC
Mark, the post that kicked off this nonsense, was simply:

"IMHO overpriced, but someone might be interested."

This was an auction that had *nothing* to do with you. You were never mentioned. it was simply a "this might be interesting; might be a bit expensive" post. You then chose to inject yourself into the forum with a bunch of "misinformation" of your own claiming that HarperCollins faked the signatures on the Silmarillion.

(I note that you added and then removed a response where you claimed that he perhaps signed some of them himself...

Mark D. Faith wrote:
There is a lot more than two styles. We all change our signatures over time, for different reasons. We have signatures for important things and another style for fast signing. As we get older, we get a bit lazy or messy or due to age and illness we might even become neater. I can't speak for other signed copies of this edition, maybe he signed actually signed the first 100, 200 or so? Did he get to nearly 500, not in this case. Some assistant did it for him. Its still official.


As for "getting a life", it was you that came to the site uninvited and posted utterly embarassing nonsense on a post that had nothing to do with you. I think your posting here today has made you look a fool. Perhaps you should stay away, especially when you have not been mentioned in any way.
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