Tolkien Collector's Guide

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Rebinding Project needs advice from an expert!

Rebinding Project needs advice from an expert!

Aug 13

Hi, I first read the Hobbit and LOTR when I was 5, but I felt a real connection to it when I learned that my Grandfather bound Tolkien's personal copy of the Silmarillion. I am sure this means little to others, but it has inspired me to get on and do something I have been keen to for years but haven't known how to get started.

I want to bind my own collection of Tolkien books to my own spec, for my own pleasure, and should they come out nicely, something to pass to my son as and when.

To do this I need one of you fine ladies and gentlemen with more knowledge than I to help me collect a set of isbns for each of Tolkien's middle earth related books which fulfil the following criteria:

1. Are all the same size (The pages not the binding as I will be replacing that)
2. Are printed well on the nicest paper possible
3. Are illustrated if possible
4. Are not collectors items (everything is a collectors item if you try hard enough, but let's be reasonable about it - I'm not gonna rebind a first Ed copy of LOTR unless it is literally missing its original cover and even then I would find someone with more experience!)

In addition, I would prefer it if LotR was one volume and the history of middle earth was 3, but its not a deal breaker.


Its a big ask, and it's not something I can figure out without having physical access to a range of different printings, but I bet it is possible.

Thanks in advance, I really appreciate it.

James
Aug 13
Did Tolkien have a personal copy of The Silmarillion?...
Aug 14

Khamûl wrote:
Did Tolkien have a personal copy of The Silmarillion?...


Perhaps Christopher is meant?

@JamesTMS - which books are you looking for? History of Middle-earth is mentioned. Adventures of Tom Bombadil? The Hobbit has been illustrated by Tolkien, Alan Lee and Jemima Catlin, which are you looking for?

Sadly my books are all in boxes from a recent move, but if you narrow down more of what you are looking for there's probably a way. ISBN is likely not going to be sufficient though, as multiple printings can often have the same ISBN on them (or dealer's aren't careful).
Aug 14
(edited)
My apologies, I meant Christopher Tolkien, as it was printed 3 years or so after JRRT's death.

Adventures of Tom Bombadil, yes that would be great. Primarily I'm looking for hobbit, LOTR, Silmarillion and history of middle earth, but if this goes well I imagine I'm gonna start looking to add other works to the set - I'm not one to give up once I start something lol!

Your point about isbn's is well taken, it sounds like I would need to collect as much info about the specific printing/edition as I can.

FYI I've contacted the Tolkien estate on the off chance that they are willing to tell me what Christopher Tolkien's personal copy looks like, if it is bespoke or the same as other first editions. Maybe I will find something out which drives me in a particular stylistic direction for the set binding (:

Also I would prefer illustration where possible and my personal preference is for Alan Lee's work, but I suspect this is one of the factors that I will have to compromise on in order to assemble a matching set.

Your replies encourage me that it is potentially possible to get this set together, thank you.

James
Aug 14
Hi James.

There is a possibility that his copy looks something like the attached photo.

This copy is a specially bound copy of The Silmarillion given to Rayner Unwin by Christopher.

11_5d540935760c1.jpg 4032X2268 px
Aug 14

remy wrote:
Hi James.

There is a possibility that his copy looks something like the attached photo.

This copy is a specially bound copy of The Silmarillion given to Rayner Unwin by Christopher.


Do you have any other pictures of this book? Or does any other member, would love to see more.
Aug 14
Remy that could turn out to be a fantastic guide for me if the actual copy he has proves ultimately elusive. My grandfather worked at William Clowes, I don't suppose you have any other details about this book do you?
Aug 14
Trotter / James

Additional photos attached (and of copyright page - it is a clowes printing).

11_5d543005a2bfe.jpg 4032X2268 px

11_5d54305f807bd.jpg 4032X2268 px

11_5d54309b6a288.jpg 4032X2268 px

11_5d5430dca42a7.jpg 4032X2268 px
Aug 14
James,

There is a possibility that Christopher got a number of these bound for friends (speculation) and maybe his own copy is identical. This is the only one I know of to date.
Aug 14
You just had to go & post pictures of it, didn't you?!
Aug 14
The illustrated LR, S and H editions are larger than the History of M-e volumes, so you won't be able to built a matching set size-wise.
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