Published by Allen and Unwin, London, 1953. 354 pages. Bound in
brown paper with paper name and price labels on front. Enclosed
in a custom made red leather clam-shell box.
In terms of importance, there are very few Tolkien
books which could compare with this proof. Allen and
Unwin prepared a small number of these to help Tolkien with
revisions while preparing to publish the First Edition of THE
LORD OF THE RINGS.
Hammond and Scull are uncertain of the exact number of proof copies
created, although they note 'a good guess' would be between
20 and 24 copies. This compares with the 3,250 copies of
the English first impression, first edition.
This proof shows several obvious errors and may contain a number
more in the content of the text. The proof is in nearly fine condition,
with no flaws except for a slight rounding of the tips.
Of particular note is the incorrect wording of the "One Ring..."
poem. Tolkien had, at the publication time of this proof, not completed
his corrections on the poem. It reads here:
"One Ring to bring them all and in the shadow bind them,
In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie."
The Contents page also contains a number of errors, the Synopsis
is not present, and there is no date yet on the title page. I
have no record of the extent of errors in the text.
This is a virtually irreplaceable book for a Tolkien collector
who has everything.