Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    J.R.R. Tolkien - The Hobbit, First Edition, First Impression, 1937, London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd. 8vo, green decorated cloth binding, map endpapers, illustrations by the author, 301 pages. Condition: Very Good to Fine with no discernible markings or tears. Dust Jacket: Good with some chipping at top and some staining and discoloration. 1.5" tear from top right front, and a missing piece approximately 2.75" x 1" at the lower left front. Small piece missing from top rear spine, approximately .75" x .5" and several small tears and nicks along the bottom. The word "Dodgeson" has been hand-corrected, with an inkmark through the "e", and the front flap, which is unclipped, bears the correct price of "7s. 6d. NET". Taken together, these indicate that a first impression dustjacket accompanies this rare first edition book.Tolkien wrote the first line of The Hobbit, "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit," on a blank sheet while correcting exam papers in school. After several years of development (in which Tolkien would tell parts of the story to his children), the book was submitted to publisher Allen & Unwin, Ltd in 1936. Chairman Stanley Unwin greenlighted the project on the advice of his ten-year-old son, Rayner, who wrote, "It is good and should appeal to all children between the ages of five and nine." Released on September 21, 1937 in a limited edition of 1,500 copies, the book sold out completely in a mere three months and has been in print ever since. Of particular interest to collectors are the differences between the first edition of this work and subsequent editions. A compulsive rewriter, Tolkien was rarely satisfied with his work, and often went back and revised passages. One of the more well-known examples of the "niggling", as Tolkien called it, is in the Riddle Game played between Bilbo and Gollum, which is markedly different in the first edition. As Tolkien worked on The Lord of The Rings, he found it necessary to make certain alterations in his earlier work, to bring the Hobbit more clearly in line with his later, more mature, vision. Therefore, Gollum becomes a decidedly more evil creature in later versions, and the stakes of the Riddle Game are different (in the familiar version, Gollum offers to lead Bilbo to safety if the Hobbit wins the game; in the first version, Bilbo is offered "a present" should he prevail). In July, 2002, a first edition copy of The Hobbit, signed by Tolkien to his aunt, sold for approximately $66,000 at a Sotheby's auction, and prices nearly double that for particularly pristine copies are not unheard of. With the renewed popularity of this franchise via Peter Jackson's blockbuster epic, prices seem to be steadily increasing, as fans discover, or rediscover, the works of this modern master

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2004
    2nd-3rd Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,001

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    15% of the successful bid (minimum $6) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 39 days left to consign to the 2019 April 13 - 15 European Comic Art Comic Art - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    Regarding the New Make an Offer beta program, just stumbled across this feature in the comic section. All I have to say is: WOW!! This will be a game-changer for you. A brilliant move.
    Wellesley, MA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 October 12 Illustration Art - Dallas
    2018 October 12 Illustration Art - Dallas
    REALIZED $1,745,893
    2018 December 8 - 9 Animation Art Signature Auction - Beverly Hills
    2018 December 8 - 9 Animation Art Signature Auction - Beverly Hills
    REALIZED $1,869,500