Tolkien Collector's Guide
Yet another signed copy

Yet another signed copy

Nov 22, 2008

A 1st ed Hobbit with a signed sheet added: ... 65%3A10|39%3A1|240%3A1308

- wellinghall
Nov 23, 2008
Oops - i didn't see this post - I've just posted up another piece on this same book. Sorry - is there any way to pop my post into here, and remove the original?
Jan 5, 2009
I didn't want to start a new topic on this, but another Tolkien signature is on eBay:

Tolkien "messed up" signature

Looks pretty messed up and I can't find out if it is a genuine one. Looks quite good to me when you look to the form and writing of the letters but it's quite messed up for Tolkien's style... Also it hasn't got an ex-libris...
If it is a genuine one, it is a bargain! But I will not place a bid as I am very doubtful about this. Maybe Beren can find out
Jan 5, 2009
Well I'll be mailing this person to get a larger view on the signature... it seems messed up indeed, but feels very genuine to me as well. Especially the J is done very well. The only doubt (at a fast glance) is the line underneath the signature, which is not Tolkien(ish) at all. Also the position of the autograph makes me doubt very much. If this booked belonged to Tolkien he'd never would have signed there, and if it was not his own copy, why on earth would he sign it there? Still, I have to see the signature up close and do have to look up some stuff before I can give a definitive answer.
Jan 6, 2009
Christina and I have serious doubts about this signature. The script, even down to the blue ink, is very similar to that used in signatures recently discussed in this forum as forgeries. Beren is right, though, that the position of the signature, on the title-page of a book not by Tolkien himself, is suspicious. Also open to question is why Tolkien would have acquired a copy of Sweet’s reader published in 1946: yes, he knew Onions, and this was the first edition of Sweet revised by Onions, but by 1946 Tolkien would have had one or more editions of Sweet already as working copies, and with Michaelmas Term of that year he fully took up the duties of the Merton Professorship in which he no longer taught Anglo-Saxon.

I might mention that I’ve looked on eBay at other autographed items sold by the person offering this book, and am uncertain about some of those signatures as well.

Jan 8, 2009
For the record, I inquired further about this item from the seller, and he/she responded by saying, "im ill at the mo sorry." If the seller e-mails me anything else, I'll post it here. Seems a bit suspect to me.

Jan 8, 2009
he is so ill that he also managed to sent me the same today!
Jan 12, 2009
Unsurprisingly, the seller never responded to my questions (must have been really sick). The auction has ended and the item sold for $256.00. I highly doubt this item is legit. It is unfortunate that these fake signatures keep cropping up.
Feb 25, 2009
Beren, Jlong & All,

I too emailed the seller early on for a larger scan of the signature, to no avail. The excuse was illness, yet the seller continued to post new and lengthy ebay listings, quite a feat for someone so bed ridden. When I pressured the seller he got testy and threatened to pull the listing, which of course he wasn't about to. Surprisingly, for the signature to be deemed such a fake it pulled in numerous bidders, 9 in all, one with a rating over 6,000 & another over 11,000.

The appalling behavior of the seller really irked me, so fake or not, I wanted a closer look and resolved to win the auction. I've since received the book, and have scanned a hi-res image into Photoshop and am no longer convinced the signature to be a fake. There are minute pen strokes and details that are very revealing in the blown up image, which can not be seen in the ebay scan.

It's my opinion that Prof Tolkien was perhaps taken by the moment and two things worked against him in this particular signing, and.. I'm sure he was completely aghast when the ink drop left his pen and blotted out his "e". The 2 factors that spoiled this signing was the pen he used, and the very course texture of the paper. The paper was course and the pen snagged on paper fibers at several points and because of the rough texture the ink flow to the paper was not consistent, this is why the double stroke on the "J". As he was signing T-o-l-k his pen tip lost it's flow (prime) and with his letters beginning to lighten, when he finished that wonderful flare in his "K", he shook his pen to prime the point again and the tip didn't stop the on-rush off ink and he obliterated his "e". Highly magnified, the signature takes on a much better understanding, the partial missing stoke can even be seen in the 'T".

I am not a hand writing expert to any degree, I'm sure there are many here who are better qualified than I to judge the authenticity of a Tolkien signature. But, to me this signature is certainly genuine, and is indeed from the hand of the master himself. I have posted a hi-res scan of the signature for anyone who's interested, or may have requested it and did not receive it. All comments welcome.


339_49a57e9f507c8.jpg 1887X1092 px
Feb 25, 2009
I hope for Beleg's sake that it is indeed real, and if he is happy with the book, then that is what really matters.

However, in the end, I think that this signature is a bit of a shame. Even if it is real, the fact that we are having this debate means that it will be questioned again in the future. This skeptisism will effect its value every time it comes up for sale - real or not. A lot of serious collectors will not be willing to take the risk on this one, not to mention that it is a somewhat 'messy' signature, making it even less desirable (I tend to place higher value on 'nicer looking' signatures, such as the signed 1987 Super Deluxe Hobbit where 'Christopher Tolkien' is scrawled out in full - as opposed to the Children of Hurin signed 'C.R. Tolkien.')

I always say that an item is only ever worth what someone is willing to pay. I suppose that the current economic climate may be helping to supress the value of this particular item, so maybe when the market improves, it can be sold for a profit. However, I can't imagine that it will ever go as high as a nice clean signing with provenance.
Feb 26, 2009
Sir Alpingloin

I appreciate what you say.. any good fortune will certainly be embraced should the signature ever develop appreciation value. This of course will be a plus, as appreciation value is secondary to why it was acquired. If the signature indeed remains to be deemed fake by consensus of this forum, then it will never find it's way back onto the marketplace. It was removed from the marketplace as a fake, and will remain removed from the marketplace so long as popular belief of this forum holds it in question.

Case in point..

Jlong; "It is unfortunate that these fake signatures keep cropping up."

Findegil; "Christina and I have serious doubts about this signature."

Beren; ".. the signature, which is not Tolkien(ish) at all."

Onónion; "I will not place a bid as I am very doubtful about this."

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