THE LORD OF THE RINGS comprising THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING [with] THE TWO TOWERS [with] THE RETURN OF THE KING. Three Volumes. First Editions.
London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1954-55. First Editions (& 1st printings). First Edition, First Impressions of All Three Volumes, comprising 'The Fellowship of the Ring', 'The Two Towers' and 'The Return of the King'. Octavo, bound in full red morocco leather, the spines with five raised bands lettered, ruled and decorated gilt in the compartments, front and rear panels with a gilt border, folding maps at rear of each volume. 423 + 352 + 416 pp. 3,000 copies of FELLOWSHIP were printed, 3,250 copies of THE TWO TOWERS, and 7,000 copies of THE RETURN OF THE KING, which is present here in the second state, with the slipped text on page 49 and the Signature mark '4' present. Condition: A working set, beautifully rebound. The title leaf of FELLOWSHIP... has a darkening from a small strip of tape (long removed) which was along the inner gutter, there is evidence of a couple of labels removed from the verso of the title and the verso of the "Three Rings for the Elven Kings..." leaf. But even curiouser, there are pencil annotations in the margins to the text throughout the three volumes - and these annotations relate to distances traveled, times and dates - the previous owner has marked the dates in the margins, plus made notes as to distances (i.e., Vol 1, p 390, "1200 miles Minas Tirith to 'Northerland' through Rohan") and times (Vol 1, p 308 (A Journey in the Dark) has the date notation "12/1" (January 1), on page 312 it is "13/1" (January 13th); page 358 "moon waning", etc. All annotations are in pencil. It looks like these were the working copies of an early Tolkien Scholar, although we have no provenance on the original owner. There is some waviness to a few pages; and the odd short closed marginal tear, the top page edges are stained. A well used set, now rebound in stunning full red morocco gilt. Housed in three separate folding felt-lined solander clamshell cases, red cloth with red morocco spines with raised bands, gilt decorations, rules and lettering. Item #312496
¶ The First Edition of the last classic. "J.R.R. Tolkien is the most important author of the Twentieth Century" - Neil Gaiman. Note: The issue point with the first edition of THE RETURN OF THE KING is just that - an issue point which occurred during the printing of the first edition sheets. In "J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography" (1993), Wayne Hammond states that this variant of page 49 is the first issue, but this statement was based on the assumption that the damaged text would have been picked up by the printers and corrected. This was not the case - it has now been shown that when the printers noticed that the signature mark "4" was missing, they corrected it during the print run, and while correcting it managed to knock the type slightly. For clarification, see Hammond notes on this misinterpretation in Issue 11 of 'The Tolkien Collector'.