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First Edition of ‘The Hobbit’ Sells for Record Price at Sotheby’s London

Handwritten Evlish note from J.R.R. Tolkien included with the book. SOTHEBY's

The handwritten note from J.R.R. Tolkien written in Evlish included with the book.


A 1937 first edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit broke a new auction record today at Sotheby’s in London, fetching a world record price of £137,000, or about $210,500.

Today’s result usurps the previous auction record for The Hobbit quite substantially; the preceding top price for a copy of the book was £50,000, set in 2008. Today’s auction also drastically outperformed, more than doubling its presale estimate of £50,000 to £70,000 ($76,800 to $107,600).

Sotheby’s had this to say: “Presented as a gift from the author to one of his first students at Leeds University in the 1920s, Miss Katherine (“Kitty”) Kilbride, it is inscribed with a handwritten note from the author in Elvish. The author continued to send letters, cards, and books to her throughout his life.”

Handwritten note in Elvish! No wonder this went for the big bucks.

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