Description

    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: Good to Very Good with some light soiling to the covers and slight foxing to the edges. Dust Jacket: Good with some chipping and light staining overall. There is a missing piece measuring approximately 2.5" x 1.25" from the upper spine and a small piece out of the lower front right corner measuring approximately .75" x .75". Other nicks, tears and small pieces missing from the rest of the jacket, but overall this is a very nice and presentable copy, with strong eye appeal. 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

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2004
    1st-2nd Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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    I have done a preliminary analysis and the total of the hammer prices was $67,550. With BP, the final figure was $80,722.25. That is against the total insurance value of $34,785 or 2.32 x ‘pre-auction estimate’. Incredible, really, so a big thanks.
    Mark A.,
    Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK
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