The Hobbit (First Edition) by J.R.R. Tolkien



2015-06-26 10:52:13

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel and children’s book by J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973). The first editions was published in 1937 by George Allen and Unwin, London. Background

Tolkien’s experiences during World War I are usually thought to have played a part in the story, as well as his deep interest in fairy tales and mythology.

Tolkien drew several illustrations for the book himself, including maps, and including the first edition dust-jacket.

The book prompted the sequel, The Lord of the Rings, an epic fantasy which established Tolkien as possibly the greatest fantasy author in history.

Plot, Characters, Themes

The story, set in Middle-Earth, involves a Hobbit, a peace-loving, simple, country bred fellow, who is unwillingly dragged on an adventure with a group of dwarves to rob a dragon of its treasure. It is essentially a children’s book. The story is related like an episodic quest, detailing all the adventures and obstacles the characters have on their journey.

The themes are personal growth, and the nature of heroism.


Tolkien is one of the best-loved fantasy writers in history.

See main article: JRR Tolkien rare books and memorabilia

Notable auction sales and collecting tips

First editions of The Hobbit (1937, George Allen and Unwin, London) are very collectible. They are much more valuable if they retain their original bindings, and their original dust-jackets, which were designed by Tolkien himself. It is not recommended to restore them. The value shoots up if they are signed or inscribed by Tolkien.

There were several printings of the first edition. Therefore, whether a copy is a first edition first impression or later impression can make a difference to its value.

Sothebys sold first editions of The Hobbit for £18,000 in December 2004, £19,200 in July 2005, £27,850 in December 2001, £28,680 in December 2002, £30,950 in May 2000, and $89,625 in December 2002.

Christie’s sold first edition copies for $10,200 in June 2007, £6,600 in November 2005, and an inscribed presentation copy for $78,000 in June 2005.

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