The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition to celebrate its 75th Anniversary (26.05.11 by Pieter Collier) - Comments

It is a news item that I remember to see some times before, for example when we would celebrate the 70th anniversary of The Hobbit. But this time I really get the feeling HarperCollins is really going to do it: make a true facsimile edition of The Hobbit. In a recent interview with David Brawn, publishing director at HarperCollins, we were told that this edition will only be released in 2012, still it is good news so let us have some ideas about such an edition put down here!

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit became an instant success when it was first published in 1937, and 75 years later Tolkien’s epic tale of elves, dwarves, trolls, goblins, myth, magic and adventure has lost none of its appeal. To commemorate this anniversary, HarperCollins is proud to present a facsimile edition of the first historic printing of The Hobbit. A must-have for any collector or fan!

Is this really what it appears to be: a facsimile reproduction of the 1937 edition complete with the original text (including the original "Riddles in the Dark" Chapter (ch.5) and the original black and white illustrations. Does it include any of the colour plates included in the first American Edition or will we have to wait to see a facsimile edition of the first American The Hobbit next year?

It is a fascinating idea to have a true facsimile edition of The Hobbit made. But to have a true reproduction I wonder about some small details like the hand correction on back flap and the correct price on front flap - will they include this? How about the paper, the paper used for the dustjackets? It would be wonderfull to have an exact reproduction of the first printing.

The first impression of the first edition had publishers ink corrected text on the rear flap of the dust jacket ("Dodgson" was misspelled "Dodgeson"). But the dust jacket design was by Tolkien and it would be nice to see a fine facsimile edition released! But it makes me wonder if all mistakes (of which many are mentioned in Wayne Hammond's J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography) will be reproduced.

The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition to celebrate its 75th Anniversary

The first printing also included 11 black-and-white illustrations and two maps, printed in red and black. The book was constructed of green cloth boards and contained 312 pages. It was rather small and measured only 19 x 13.5 cm (7.48 x 5.31in). The green boards were impressed with a left-facing dragon and a delightful mountain scene.

The spine read: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. The center of the binding had a design made from the dwarven runes Th, D, Th. The bottom of the spine includes the publisher's name, George Allen & Unwin, Ltd. The first printing included no color illustrations at all. It is an interesting news item and I'm curious to see the result. I'm happy to have some copies of the first impression of The Hobbit in my personal collection, but it would be nice to be able to go to Tolkien reading day with a facsimile edition, to be able to read the original version of Riddle in the Dark. Guess I'll send over an email to HarperCollins and ask some more info about this edition. But to be honest, I hope this is truly a reproduction and the closer it matches the original the more I will want to own a copy! And now it is up to you... what do you expect this facsimile edition to look like?

Title: The Hobbit Facsimile First Edition
J.R.R. Tolkien


Publication Date:

hardcover, 312 pages
ISBN-10: 0-00-744083-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-00-744083-2

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