"THE MOST INFLUENTIAL FANTASY NOVEL EVER WRITTEN": HANDSOMELY BOUND FIRST EDITIONS OF ALL THREE VOLUMES OF THE LORD OF THE RINGS, WITH TIPPED-IN SIGNATURE BY TOLKIEN IN FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
TOLKIEN, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The Two Towers. The Return of the King. London: George Allen & Unwin, 1954-55. Three volumes. Octavo, modern full crimson morocco gilt, raised bands, black morocco spine labels, all edges gilt. Housed in custom slipcase. $15,000.
First editions of all three volumes of Tolkien's tour de force: his richly imagined, elegantly crafted, wildly popular vision of the battle for the fate of Middle-Earth, an exceptional set with Fellowship of the Ring containing Tolkien's signature on a tipped-in gilt-bordered plate, finely bound in full crimson morocco, gilt-decorated with iconography from the novel.
"The most influential fantasy novel ever written" (Clute & Grant, 951). Although immediately occasioned by his publisher's request for a sequel to The Hobbit (1937), Tolkien's incomparable epic draws on lore, legends and languages he had been creating since World War I. Published in three volumes for practical reasons (Tolkien always considered it a single novel), it is "one of [the 20th] century's lasting contributions to that borderland of literature between youth and age… [and] to that select list of books which continue through the ages to be read by children and adults with almost equal pleasure" (Eyre, 134-35). "Of all popular bestsellers, The Lord of the Rings is the one most likely to be read over and over again" (Shippey, Tolkien: Author of the Century, 306). Large folding maps, printed in black and red, at rear of each volume. Return of the King in Hammond's revised second state of the first printing, with gathering mark "4" and sagging type on page 49. These copies uniformly and distinctively bound in full pictorial morocco-gilt. The front boards depict Tolkien's Ring and Eye of Sauron designs, as seen on the original dust jackets. Hammond & Anderson A5a. Fantasy and Horror 5-289. Pringle, Modern Fantasy, 60-61. Fantasy 100 Best, 161-62.
Fine condition, handsomely bound.