J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit

George Allen & Unwin Ltd


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First edition, first printing of Tolkien's best-known work.

  • J.R.R. Tolkien (English).
  • The Hobbit or There and Back Again.
  • London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1937.
  • Frontispiece and 8 black & white plates and one vignette by Tolkien, advertisement leaf at end, top edge of text block tinted green.
  • Bound in the publisher's original stamped green cloth, map pastedowns and endpapers.

Betty Jean Orton is the daughter of Harold Orton (1898–1975), English dialectologist and lexicographer remembered for his monumental Survey of English Dialects (1962–72).

Tolkien began writing The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, as a professor of English language and literature at Oxford University. Tolkien's creative perspective was born from a childhood spent briefly in South Africa and then rural England, a short but wretched tour during World War I, and an avid fascination with German philology. Although it was originally billed as a children's book, The Hobbit attracted a varied audience and has been wildly popular since its initial publication. Tolkien built upon the tradition of fantasy literature developed by George MacDonald, Lewis Carroll and the folk tales of Arabian Nights by inventing a new language—Elvish—and making it accessible for modern-day readers. Such creativity brought rave reviews for The Hobbit. 1,500 copies were published on Sept. 21, 1937 and were sold out by December, less than three months after publication.


Betty Jean Orton


Currey 476.

Hammond A3a.

Condition Report

Star iconVery Good
Like New

Internally clean and bright, no foxing.

No lean to the spine, inner and outer hinges fine, head and foot of spine fine, back corners square.

Lower rear corner of the foot of the spine rubbed with some slight loss, completely unsophisticated without any repairs.

Neat ownership signature of Betty Jean Orton dated Xmas 1937 to front blank endleaf.


Height: 7.69 inches / 19.53 cm
Width: 5.63 inches / 14.29 cm


First Edition




Modern first editions, Childrens, Novels

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