Rare first edition The Hobbit selling the day before Tolkien Reading day

JRR Tolkien’s masterpiece ‘The Hobbit’ first edition

up for auction just one day after Tolkien reading day.


Newcastle based auction house Anderson and Garland are pleased to be offering a rare first edition, first impression of ‘The Hobbit’ (Lot 308) on 26th March, just one day after Tolkien Reading day on the 25th. ‘The Hobbit’, also known as ‘There and Back Again’, was just the third book that Tolkien wrote and was critically acclaimed around the world. Published in 1937, only 1500 volumes were printed in the first impression of which this was one. Three further impressions of that addition were printed to supply the huge demand for the book and hundreds of later editions in many languages.

This particular volume has had quite a history, purchased by the current vendor, a resident of Morpeth, at a country house clearance of the Waterhouse family near St Boswell’s, Scotland. The Waterhouse family were direct descendants of Alfred Waterhouse, renowned architect famous for The National History Museum and Manchester City Hall, which was what enticed the vendor to the sale. He said “I love going to country house sales where the ‘job lots’ can have anything in them. It was before sales were listed on the internet so you had to go there to sort through them.”

Also in the same box was Lot 309 in Anderson and Garland’s sale, a manuscript by Alfred Waterhouse’s granddaughter Rachel, setting out his wife Elizabeth’s poems. Elisabeth was a writer and poet of some note in her own right. The manuscript has been set out in the Arts and Crafts style, to reflect the period the poems were written in.

Fred Wyrley-Birch, Director at Anderson and Garland said “The Hobbit is a wonderful read in its own right but to be able to handle a first edition is a great honour. They are extremely rare and have been known to sell for extremely high sums. The current world record is £137,000 for a volume with its dust jacket and in near perfect condition, set in 2015. The estimate for this book is £4000-6000, reflecting the lack of the dust jacket and the vendor’s willingness to sell.”

“Rachel’s manuscript is beautiful and a testament to a granddaughter’s love and respect for the family matriarch. It is all done by hand with rubic capitals and musical notations, and with an estimate of just £100-200 we are hopeful it’ll sell very well.”

The two day Fine Art Sale starts on Tuesday 26th March at 10am. Any enquiries please contact Fred Wyrley-Birch at f.wyrley-birch@andersonandgarland.com or 01914303000.



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