Books, Manuscripts and Music from Medieval to Modern

Books, Manuscripts and Music from Medieval to Modern

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 374. J.R.R. Tolkien | The Lord of the Rings, London, 1966-1968, inscribed by the author in Elvish.

J.R.R. Tolkien | The Lord of the Rings, London, 1966-1968, inscribed by the author in Elvish

Lot Closed

December 12, 04:15 PM GMT


60,000 - 80,000 GBP

Lot Details


J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1966-1967

SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR AND INSCRIBED IN ELVISH IN VOLUME 1 ("a star shines on our meeting"), 3 volumes, second edition (vols 2 and 3 second impressions), 8vo (221 x 141 mm.), half-titles, 3 folding maps printed in red and black, original red cloth, spines lettered in gilt, top edges red, original dust-jackets, some light marginal dampstaining in vol.3, dust-jackets lightly soiled and rubbed at extremities, spine ends slightly frayed

[with four related items:] autograph note with a copy of the Elvish inscription, presumably a draft (this item loosely loosely inserted into vol. 1); autograph letter signed ("J.R.R. Tolkien"), to Leslie Megahey, discussing Elvish script, on headed stationary of Hotel Miramar, East Overcliff, Bournemouth, large 8vo, with autograph envelope, 20 February 1968; enclosed retained letter from Leslie Megahey to J.R.R. Tolkien, requesting examples of Elvish script, 14th February 1968; autograph note by J.R.R. Tolkien providing examples of the phrase "Tolkien in Oxford" transliterated and translated into Elvish

A COPY OF LORD OF THE RINGS INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR IN ELVISH ON CAMERA FOR A DOCUMENTARY. Leslie Megahey directed the documentary Tolkien in Oxford, produced by the BBC and originally broadcast on 30 March 1968. The Lord of the Rings was by this time an international phenomenon and the documentary included an extended interview with its donnish author. Tolkien talked about the origin myths of Middle Earth; admitted that the Ring inscription came to him in the bath; and explained that he had invented languages all his life and found it a pleasure in itself, but "I don't desire to go and have an afternoon talking Elvish to chaps. For one thing of course Elvish is too complicated. I've never finished making it." The documentary was shot from the 5th to the 9th of February 1968, with the correspondence between Megahey and Tolkien included in this lot taking place during the following two weeks.

In the accompanying typed letter, Megahey requests from Tolkien an example of the phrase "Tolkien in Oxford" written in Elvish—with the intention of using it during the title sequence of the documentary. Tolkien responded with the autograph letter and examples of Elvish script also included in this lot.

The documentary includes a close-up shot of Tolkien inscribing volume 1 of this copy in Elvish, with the Elvish greeting "a star shines on our meeting", accompanied by Tolkien's verbal commentary: "my writing is very inferior to the Elves'" and "Oh God, I've made a mistake—never mind". The shot even shows the slight smudging of blue ink created by Tolkien's hand as he inscribes the volume. The note loosely inserted into volume 1 features the same Elvish phrase.

LITERATURE: (see 17:56 -18:49 for Tolkien inscribing vol.1 of this copy); Hammond and Anderson: A5.e.i, A5.e.ii, A5.e.iii


Sold Christie's London, 15 November 2006, Lot 152