Tolkien Collector's Guide

Signed Smith of Wootton Major and the Adventures of Tom Bombadil

Mar 28, 2019
2019/3/28 8:03:56 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

What do you guys think of the authenticity of the following signatures present on the first edition of Smith of Wootton Major and the Adventures of Tom Bombadil? I believe they were once purchased from Bloomsbury Auction hosted in 2014 for 1,400 pound and 1,900 pound, respectively, but it is hard to tell because the listings are not shown on current website.

https://affiliates.abebooks.com/c/9724 ... 26cm_sp%3Ddet-_-bsk-_-bdp
https://affiliates.abebooks.com/c/9724 ... m_sp%3Ddetimg-_-bsk-_-bdp

If they are genuine, may I ask if you guys think the pricing is "fair" and is reasonable?
Currently, Smith of Wootton Major is listed for $7,824.28 and Tom Bombadil for $7,111.39.

Smith of Woottom Major is 1st edition, 1st impression, but unfortunately, Tom Bombadil is 1st edition, 2nd impression. I see on Sotheby's listing that 2nd impression Tom Bombadil inscribed by Tolkien sold for 5,000 pound, but it is unique in a sense that it was inscribed to his grandson Michael, which would add premium over just normal signature.

Lastly, which one would you buy if you guys had a chance? I am more crazy about Middle-Earth related books, so my heart is leaning toward Bombadil, but since it is not 1st impression, I am still pondering!

Thank you!

4684_5c9c7fae492af.jpg 2000X1500 px

4684_5c9c7fb728560.jpg 2000X1500 px
Mar 28, 2019
2019/3/28 8:18:42 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Red flags all over the place with these two items... I don't buy any signed material that give me doubts. And here I'm doubting big time.
Mar 28, 2019 (edited)
2019/3/28 8:28:53 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Had another look at the original auction and they were part of a set of items signed by Tolkien to a Miss Darrington, the auction had 7 items in it, and a lot of the items were definitely by Tolkien, so I think these are by him as well. Tolkien wrote a letter on the 16th November 1971, to Miss Darrington, where he states that he is returning two signed books, so he did sign books for her.

Referenced on page 795 of the Chronology (2nd edition) by Scull and Hammond.
Mar 28, 2019
2019/3/28 8:51:21 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

Beren wrote:
Red flags all over the place with these two items... I don't buy any signed material that give me doubts. And here I'm doubting big time.

Out of interest, what are the red flags on these ones?
Mar 28, 2019
2019/3/28 9:28:00 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
have a look at http://tolkiengateway.net/w/images/7/ ... 2816_November_1971%29.jpg
This is the period signature expected to be inside these books (according the info we have on the books).
Now the J in the books returns back to either an older period or is not his. The RR should be written in one go, the second r always has to look like an n. T around this time has a positive turn upwards. OLK has no stops at all, the signatures in the book look too fabricated. Anyways, too many stops, rounding that look to try an mimic (in slow pace), ... for me this looks too many strange things going on.
Can we be certain these two items are the books that were auctioned off?
Mar 28, 2019
2019/3/28 9:34:41 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Yes, they are as I have images from the auction.

Lot 449 was The Adventures of Tom Bombadil
Lot 450 was Smith of Wootton Major
Lot 453 was the letter referenced in the Chronology and shown in the link you gave.
Mar 28, 2019
2019/3/28 16:13:12 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I am with Beren, doesnt feel right, steer clear.
Price OTT anyhow
I have a 1972 signed Tom B and the signature is very close to the letter not the books
Am sure he signed items for Miss Darrimgton but would i buy these, its a no from me.
Mar 28, 2019
2019/3/28 16:37:50 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia

laurel wrote:
I am with Beren, doesnt feel right, steer clear.
Price OTT anyhow
I have a 1972 signed Tom B and the signature is very close to the letter not the books
Am sure he signed items for Miss Darrimgton but would i buy these, its a no from me.

But the auction sold 7 items from Miss Darrington, including a signed letter from Tolkien that he signed 2 of her books, why do you think these two items that were sold in the same auction are fake, and the other five are legit?
Mar 28, 2019
2019/3/28 17:07:54 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
Why not ?

The problem is as I see it you can never be sure between items being signed and sent and the auction. There are some years between and anything 'odd' could have happened. The letter is in line with his signature of the time yet the books aren't. That fact alone for me is enough to steer clear.

Its a gut feel here. Some would buy thinking because they were in the auction they must be right -surely?
I appreciate that adds weight but as we know even large auction houses get it wrong.

Each to their own though but for this sort of money I would need to be 100% sure in my mind.
Mar 28, 2019
2019/3/28 17:14:24 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
I went to the preview of this auction and saw all seven items, I'm 100% certain that all of these items were signed by J.R.R. Tolkien.
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