The Hobbit First Edition could make thousands

A rare first edition, first impression of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit has been discovered and is set to fetch over £10,000 at auction. The Hobbit or There and Back Again is a children’s fantasy novel by English author J.R.R. Tolkien first published in 1937.

A first edition, first impression of The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien with dust cover

The novel is set in Middle Earth and tells the tale of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins who joins the wizard Gandalf and the thirteen dwarves of Thorin’s Company to go on a quest to reclaim the home of the dwarves and treasure from the dragon Smaug.

When published it was nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction.

A first edition, first impression of The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

George Allen & Unwin published the first edition on September 21, 1937, with just 1,500 copies.  These sold out by December.

It is illustrated in black and white by Tolkien who also designed the dust cover. During the war, the book was unavailable due to paper rationing. On the first edition, first impression there is a manual correction on the rear inner flap for ‘Dodgeson’, (better known as Lewis Carroll).

Collectors and enthusiasts drive the market for rare first editions with auction prices ranging from £6,000 to over £20,000. Signed copies can fetch over £60,000. This example was inherited by the current owner who is based in Berkshire. It was discovered by Cotswold-based Kinghams Auctioneers and appears in their auction on May 23 with an estimate of £7,000-10,000.