Houghton Mifflin , 1955/1955/1956 1st Editions, 2nd imp./2nd imp./1st impression. An exceptional and lovely set of first editions of this classic of fantasy literature.
The Fellowship of the Ring is signed by the author, with his distinctive flourished signature.
Very few of the US editions were signed, this being the first one available in many years. The set is housed in a custom marbled paper slipcase to show and protect this beautiful set. The set is all original cloth with the correct original dustjackets. The dustjackets are all in Near Fine condition, with bright colors. The dustjackets exhibit all the correct points for the books, including the Tolkien photo cut in a 'V' on the Fellowship; the "stripe, cufflink, and gap" on the Two Towers; the oversized '5' on the price, with double uprights on the dollars sign on the Return. Besides being a truly beautiful looking set, this set is very scarce and collectable, without the rare Authors signature. The original maps are present in all three volumes, no extra folds or tears noted.
The Fellowship of the Ring
This is the second impression of The Fellowship of the Ring, it corresponds to the 3rd UK impression. By the time the publishers (Houghton Mifflin) ordered more pages from the UK, the second impression copies were already bound in the UK; therefore there is no corresponding second US impression. The DJ is unclipped and in great condition. It has bright clear colors, no fading or tanning to the spine and virtually no wear. It can easily be identified as a 3rd printing DJ as the photo of Tolkien at the back has a slight 'v' shape to it and is not cut straight across the bottom. This is known as the 'v' defect and it is only found in third or fourth printing DJ's. Textual errors prove the book to be a third printing as well. For example, the page number, '11', shows ghosting, the colophon on pg. 424 lists the Auckland address as Haddon Hall which was changed to Wyndham Street by the fourth impression. There is a neat gift inscription to the previous owner and the date of 1956 as it was a gift for Easter, tastefully done. The book is tight and the boards and pages are in excellent condition. The map is also in excellent condition at the back. The previous owner worked in the movie industry (sound for over 30 years) for many major motion pictures and would travel to the UK once or twice a year. This copy was signed and inscribed, on the half title page , "yours truly, JRR Tolkien" on one of those trips. A lovely signature in which he very rarely wrote anything other than his name.
The Two Towers
Is also a second impression book from 1955. The book and DJ are in excellent condition. Pg. 118 Line 39 reads 'fire and flood', which was changed to 'fire and death' by the fourth impression. The DJ does show the stripe defect (white stripe along top and bottom edge), hat defect, and cuff-link defect of the second and third impression DJ's. It is also not price clipped and shows the $5.00 price. The map is in excellent condition at the back. Again, all maps in the back fold down and toward the reader; this was corrected by the fourth impressions of the first two books as it got in the way while reading - they then folded up and away from the reader. The book is clean and in Near Fine condition, no chips or loss to the beautiful dustjacket.
The Return of the King
This is a true first impression copy in a first impression DJ. Simply a classic epic tale, and the popularity of these books is etched in history. The book clearly indentifies itself as a first printing as it shows the year 1956 on the title page. The DJ clearly identifies itself as a first printing DJ as the oversized '5' on the price descends too low and there are two lines through the $ sign; both changed after the first impression. The jacket and book are both in Near Fine condition, no loss or fading whatsoever.
Digital photo's available, inquire if interested.
Other Tolkien books available, include both the UK and US editions, original cloth bindings, custom fine bindings, and Signed/Numbered/Limited Editions.