Collecting Tolkien Books
"I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages
take such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lost Road
Collecting Tolkien books is like a never ending
story: you'll never finish your quest. There will always be something
new you like to have. Whether you are a collector wishing to get your
hands on every single book ever written (try Songs for the Philologists,
privately printed in 1936, 13 or so copies believed to exist; or the Leeds
University Verse Anthology from 1924 containing three poems by
Tolkien), or you are simply trying to read everything he wrote, your quest
will every time seem endless.
Finding even a well-read copy of The Devil's Coach Horses
(a discussion on a point of Anglo-Saxon translation) in the 1925 Review
of English Studies Volume 1 Number 3 is going to be very hard
due to the fragile nature of the object. And if you find one up for sale
be ready to pay a lot of money.
Most people however, whilst admiring tolkien's academic achievements,
are primarily interested in The Hobbit and The
Lord of the Rings. And since the last couple of years, Peter
Jackson's movies have added an enormous amount of 'new' Tolkien collectors
who are all eager to get their hands on as much precious Tolkien as possible.
This of course changed the prices of collectible Tolkien books.
If you plan to collect the best known First Editions of The Hobbit (Allen & Unwin - 1937), The Fellowship of The Ring
(Allen & Unwin, 1954), The Two Towers (Allen &
Unwin, 1954), The Return of The King (Allen & Unwin,
1955) in fine or near-fine condition, you are going to need really a lot
of money. For The
Lord of the Rings, around €10,000-€17,000,
and for a nice copy of The Hobbit, somewhere in the €20,000.
Signed copies are extremely hard to find and the prices can go from € 2.000 up to € 150.000 depending on the provenance, association and especially the state of the book(s).
Still you do not need to despair since there are so many beautiful collectible
Tolkien books out there that are easy to find and some are very cheap. Among
my favorites are for example the first editions of Farmer Giles of Ham,
Smith of Wootton Major, The Adventures of Tom
To get you on the road, i made a complete section on collecting Tolkien
books. First about what to collect, secondly a list of all the books there
are, this can come out handy when going on your quest for books. Thirdly
all places to go and buy these books, followed by some collector terms,
sources and a list of rare books i saw up for sale. I will only add really
rare items. This list will hopefully become a profound source for info
on the 'real rare' Tolkien books out there.
Next follow a variety of articles that discuss different topics related to collecting Tolkien books, Tolkien collector profiles and articles about some of the most amazing Tolkien books out there.
Articles about collecting Tolkien books and other Tolkien related items
Sunday 19 January 2015New Collector Profile added - Giulio TorlaiI'm very happy to announce the collector profile of Giulio Torlai, a medical doctor and Tolkien collector, who collects unique and rare Tolkien books. He considers himself an uncommon Tolkien collector, since he never focused on particular editions. Especially rare special Italian rebindings of Tolkien books are at the hearth of his collection. Read article Wednesday 20 August 2014Collector Profile update - Andrew Ferguson (Trotter)I'm very happy to announce the update of the collector profile of Andrew Ferguson, Tolkien collector from Essex in England, who primarily collects British editions of tolkien's fiction and almost owns every different UK edition. His goal is probably about 98% complete and so it has now become very difficult to find missing items. He is now focusing on collecting signed Tolkien items. All Tolkien collectors are invited to sent in their… Read article Sunday 8 December 2013Update Tolkien Collector Profile - Jacob LennarthsonJacob Lennarthson send over an update of his collector profile. He now has approximately 350 objects in his collection, of which 200 are books. Also have a collector profile up already, don't hesitate to send over an update as well. If you also are a Tolkien collector don't hesitate to send over your profile to be featured here! Read article Tuesday 3 December 2013New Collector Profile added - Barry SteadI'm very happy to announce the collector profile of Barry Stead, who collects posthumous first editions and deluxe editions related to Middle-earth and associated reference books on Tolkien. He confesses that he didn't actually realise being a collector until a few years ago, when he ended up buying a deluxe edition of The Silmarillion as a treat. Read article Tuesday 20 October 2013New Collector Profile added - Tim ScholzI'm very happy to announce the collector profile of Tim Scholz, a 44 year old German who started out as a Lord of the Rings movie statue collector, but fast turned into an all-round Tolkien collector. He plans to turn his huge collection of over 10000 pieces into a small museum. All help to support him is of course welcome! Read article Monday 21 October 2013Look at these amazing The Hobbit comics from all over the globeWith a lot of help from several Tolkien friends, especially Henk Brassian better known as The Hobbit Hunter and Kelly De Witt, I was able to add many translations of The Hobbit comic illustrated by David Wenzel. Much more need to be added, but as it stands today you will see it is getting a very nice overview! Read article Sunday 13 October 2013The Hobbit Comics adapted by Chuck Dixon and illustrated by David WenzelIn 1989 The Hobbit was adapted in a three issue comic book series, published by Eclipse Comics. The story was illustrated by David T. Wenzel. Even as a young boy David Wenzel, knew he wanted to be an artist. When he read The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, he knew he wanted to be an illustrator. The Hobbit has been a big part of his life ever since. Read article Tuesday 8 October 2013The Lord of the Ring Comics by Luis Bermejo - new covers addedThanks to Jan-Erik Fries I was able to add the covers of the Lord of the Rings Comics by Louis Bermejo in the Swedish translation. I'm still looking to receive more news on the Bulgarian and Serbian translation and any other existing edition! Don't hesitate to send over any info or images. Read article Monday 16 September 2013Update Tolkien Collector Profile - Myla Malinalda (@MylaMalinalda)Myla Malinalda send over an update of her collector profile. She now has a little over 300 items in her Tolkien and Middle-earth collection, most of which are books. She moved in a second bookcase this year and looking forward to a third one soon. Also have a collector profile up already, don't hesitate to send over an update as well. Read article Friday 23 August 2013A generous gift - the tale behind a signed copy of El HobitoOnce in a while you get in touch with people who wish to share the story behind a book they own. This is always very nice, especially when the book in the story is a rare translation of The Hobbit and signed and dedicated by J.R.R. Tolkien and his son Father John F. R. Tolkien. Read article Tuesday 20 August 2013New Collector Profile added - Jean Claude Mouret (Estellaer)I'm very happy to announce the collector profile of Estellaer, a 19 year old French musician, and an avid Tolkien collector living in the United States. He mainly focuses on limited editions, first printings and signed books. He tries not to purchase cheaper materials, because he strives to acquire real long-term possessions. We can only support that vision! Read article Saturday 10 August 2013New Collector Profile added - Mikko MarceloI'm very happy to announce the collector profile of Mikko Marcelo, A young collector of from the Philippines, who mainly focusses on anything Hobbit related, trying to collect different kinds of covers of the book and The Hobbit in other mediums such as audio books and has impressive presentation displays to show of his excellent Hobbit collection. Read article Wednesday 7 August 2013New Collector Profile added - Jacob LennarthsonI'm very happy to announce the collector profile of Jacob Lennarthson, A young collector of from Orebro in Sweden, who mainly focusses on collecting Scandinavian Tolkien translations, with his first priority on Swedish and Norwegian. He will try to collect every one of tolkien's books translated into Swedish and Norwegian and with a little help from us all he will of course reach his goal! Read article Wednesday 10 April 2013New Collector Profile added - Marco Maniezzi (@TolkienBooks1)I'm very happy to announce the collector profile of Marco Maniezzi, a collector of Italian Tolkien books from Milan in Italy. He mainly focusses on collecting books directly related to the Middle-earth history from The Silmarillion and The History of Middle-earth to The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. Read article Tuesday 1 January 2013New Collector Profile added - Pierre Dobrzykowski (@Pieeru)I'm very happy to announce the collector profile of Pierre Dobrzykowski, a collector of German and Japanese Tolkien books from Munich in Germany, who can sit in front of the books and enjoy their beauty, especially the designs drawn by Tolkien himself, which have significant Japanese elements in them. Read article Tuesday 27 November 2012New Collector Profile added - Myla D'Avanzo (@maaahla)I'm very happy to announce the collector profile of Myla D'Avanzo, a Tolkien and Middle-earth movie merchandise collector from Connecticut in United States, who primarily collects Tolkien books and while she focused mainly on the movies and merchandise from that, in the last few years started to branch out. She sees herself as a beginning collector but we are very proud to show her collection! Read article Monday 28 November 2011Oronzo Cilli Tolkien Collector Profile updateOronzo Cilli just send me an update of his Tolkien collector profile. He is a Tolkien collector from Puglia in Italy and copy-editor of the Second edition of The Annotated Hobbit, by Douglas A. Anderson. All Tolkien collectors are invited to sent in their own profiles or update the ones already online. Read article Sunday 28 August 2011The Hobbit Hunter profile updateHenk Brassien, the Hobbit Hunter, just send me an update of his profile. He is specialized in collecting The Hobbit. He currently owns all the Dutch imprints (75 out of 75 imprints since 1960) and at least one copy of any language in which The Hobbit ever was published. All Tolkien collectors are invited to sent in their own profiles or update the ones already online. Read article Friday 28 January 2011The Lord of the Ring Comics by Luis BermejoThe first comics of The Lord of the Rings were published in 1979 in Italy and were drawn by Luis Bermejo. They are based on the Ralph Bakshi movie adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. Translation were made in Spain, Finland, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Sweden and most probably in many more places. Read article Thursday 27 January 2011The amazing art of bookbinding - The SilmarillionIt has been a nice four days, looking at some of the most beautiful copies of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the incredible book art by Philip Smith. We have seen bindings by some of the most re-known companies, we have seen craftsmanship and book art. Today we will look at The Silmarillion. It was very difficult to find nice rebindings of The Silmarillion, in fact it seems not a lot have been made. Read article Tuesday 25 January 2011The amazing art of bookbinding - The Lord of the Rings - Part 2Today we continue our journey and I will show you a lot of Lord of the Rings copies that I like a lot. Some have a very classic binding, of the highest possible quality, others can only be catalogued as pieces of art. The Lord of the Rings is a wonderful book and it seems also a big inspiration for bookbinders, since all the of the best binders all across the globe like to show their take on the amazing art of bookbinding The Lord of the… Read article Monday 24 January 2011The amazing art of bookbinding - The Lord of the Rings - Part 1Over the next days I'll talk about the amazing art of bookbinding, in a series of articles where I will first look at The Lord of the Rings and show some amazing book art. In this first article in the series I am obliged to start with the best art binder in the world, Philip Smith. He is one of today's most unusual and extraordinary bookbinders. Read article Saturday 22 January 2011Something to celebrate: 30 years The Letters of J. R. R. TolkienThis year it is exactly 30 years ago that we saw the publication of The Letters by J.R.R Tolkien. Since then many fans have hoped for a second volume. Here I will write down my opinion on the possibility of such a volume and the value of Tolkien letters in general. We will also have a closer look at tolkien's use of template letters, much before the computer existed! Read article Monday 10 January 2011The Tolkien Collector Magazine no. 31 almost readyWayne Hammond and Christina Scull have just posted on their blog, Too Many Books and Never Enough, that the latest issue of The Tolkien Collector, no. 31, is almost ready.In addition to the usual description of recent books by and about J.R.R. Tolkien, Tolkien Collector 31 contains a lengthy comparison by Christina of the editions to date of tolkien's Father Christmas letters. Read article Monday 10 January 2011Collecting Tolkien booksWhen you combine the love for books and a passion for the works of J.R.R. Tolkien then somehow it always turns into a massive or very specialized Tolkien book collection. Around 2006 I started one section on this website that focuses completely on Tolkien collecting. Still, since then I have seen and learned a lot. So now I have decided to rewrite that section completely and rework it into a more comprehensive section of the website. I'… Read article Friday 7 January 2011Avoid Buying Fake Tolkien Signatures on EbayAnything with the name Tolkien on it is valuable and people with the wrong intentions like to abuse the name Tolkien to make profit. It is sad and a pity Tolkien friends and fans spend their money on worthless items like these. I hope examples like this somehow help to avoid buying fake items online. Read article Sunday 27 February 2005Collecting Tolkien owned booksJ.R.R. Tolkien had the tendency to sign all the books which were in his personal library, which was really huge. Most of tolkien's personal books were donated and/or sold towards libraries (fe. the English Faculty Library of Oxford) a lot of his manuscripts and handwritten papers went to Museum's. Yet on the market came up for sale a lot of his books, mainly philological works, at various times after tolkien's death. Read article Monday 21 February 2005Collecting Tolkien Advance Reading CopiesIn collecting JR.R. Tolkien first editions, the earlier the better is the rule. The first issue of a Tolkien book is always more desirable and more expensive than a later issue. So for fanatic Tolkien collectors the best copy, or state, of any given book would be Tolkien. This article talks about collecting proof copies. Read article Wednesday 9 February 2005Collecting The SilmarillionWhen collecting Tolkien books most people stop when The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings is on the shelves. Yet there is another treasure to explore. For most in the beginning a hard read, but maybe the most valuable literature treasure for others. I'll try to tell more on this book, The Silmarillion, it's origin and all on collecting this marvellous work, ranging from limited to translated editions. Read article
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