JRR Tolkien Bibliography

A Collectors Reference Guide

UK - US First Edition Books

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JRR Tolkien, born 1892 and died 1973, full name John Ronald Reuel, was born in South Africa though educated in Britain. He worked as an academic and professor in Oxford. There is already far too much bandwidth dedicated to the life of this author on the net so we will not add to it. Our aim here is to provide an in-depth and accurate bibliography for collectors. We have accounted for the various issue points, such as they are, and also included some later editions. Normally we would not do this but such is the collectability of this author that later editions are also collectable. When collecting the trilogy one should strive for matched sets, that is to say the same editions and matching condition jackets. Put together sets and mismatched volumes are of questionable use. It may also be worth pointing out that a first edition is a first edition, anything printed later is a reprint. A so called 'first edition 12th Impression' should not be regarded as of particular value or collectability. This is something to bear in mind for new collectors, particularly those who buy on sites such as Ebay.
UK editions precede the US, for the important books that is, and there is a considerable difference in value. A very rough guide would be English books would fetch three times the price of the equivalent American book. Rebound books are now fairly commonplace, the importance of these, is perhaps, a matter of personal opinion and taste. Whilst they may look attractive and, it could be argued, is a good way to make something in poor condition collectable, we believe that modern first editions really need to have their original bindings and dust jackets. So once again we urge caution in sums paid for rebound books. 
If you are looking to buy or sell books then our antiquarian book dealers section may be of some assistance.

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The Hobbit

Title   Date Notes
First Edition UK Allen + Unwin 1937 Green cloth with stamped design. Pictorial endpapers. Black and white frontis. 1st issue jackets have spelling error on inside flap, the name 'Dodgson' was wrongly spelt with an 'e' which was then crossed out rather than destroy the wrappers
First American Houghton + Mifflin 1938  
Second UK Edition Unwin 1938 Four new colour plates by Tolkien
UK Revised Unwin 1951 Riddle of the Dark revised
First UK Paperback Puffin 1961  

The Fellowship of the Ring

Being the First Part of the Lord of the Rings

Title   Date Notes
First UK Edition Unwin 1954 Red cloth, fold-out map to rear
First US Mifflin 1954  
Revised UK Unwin 1966 New foreword and prologue

The Two Towers

Being the Second Part of the Lord of the Rings

Title   Date Notes
1st UK Unwin 1954 Red cloth, fold-out map to rear
1st American Mifflin 1955  
Revised UK Unwin 1966  

The Return of the King

Being the Third Part of the Lord of the Rings

Title   Date Notes
First UK Unwin 1955 Red cloth, fold-out map to rear. 1st issue page 49  with 'sagging' type and signature mark 4
First USA Mifflin 1956  
Revised UK Unwin 1966  

The Silmarillion

Title   Date Notes
First Issue UK Unwin 1977 Printed by Billing and Son
First Commonwealth Unwin 1977 Printed by William Clowes
US Mifflin 1977  

Other Titles

Title   Date Notes
A Middle Earth Vocabulary OUP 1922 1st issue ads dated October 1921, 2nd issue undated ads. US: 1922 OUP
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight OUP 1925 US: 1925 OUP
Songs for the Philologists Private 1936  
Beowulf The Monsters and the Critics BA 1936 ND. US: 1972 Folcroft
Farmer Giles of Ham Unwin 1949 US: 1950 Mifflin
The Adventure of Tom Bombadil Unwin 1962 US: 1963 Mifflin
Tree and Leaf Unwin 1964 US: 1965 Houghton
The Tolkien Reader Ballantine 1966  
Smith of Wootton Major Unwin 1967 US: 1967 Mifflin
The Road Goes Ever On Mifflin 1967 UK: 1968 Unwin
Bilbo's Last Song Mifflin 1974 UK: 1974 Unwin
The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Unwin 1975  
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl and Sir Orfeo Unwin 1975 US: 1975 Mifflin
The Father Christmas Letters Unwin 1976 US: 1976 Mifflin
Pictures By J.R.R. Tolkein Unwin 1979 US: 1979 Mifflin
Unfinished Tales Unwin 1980 US: 1980 Mifflin
Poems and Stories Unwin 1980 US: 1980 Houghton
Letters Unwin 1981 US: 1981 Mifflin
Mr Bliss Unwin 1982 US: 1983 Mifflin
Finn and Hengest Unwin 1983 US: 1983 Mifflin

Christopher Tolkien

The History of Middle-Earth

Title   Date Notes
The Book of Lost Tales Part 1 Unwin 1983 US: 1984 Mifflin
The Book of Lost Tales Part 2 Unwin 1984 US: 1984 Mifflin
The Lays of Beleriand Unwin 1985 US: 1985 Mifflin
The Shaping of Middle-Earth Unwin 1986 US: 1986 Mifflin
The Lost Road Unwin 1987 US: 1987 Mifflin
The Return of the Shadow Unwin 1988 US: 1988 Mifflin
Treason in Isengard Unwin 1989 US: 1989 Mifflin
The War of the Ring Unwin 1990 US: 1990 Mifflin
Sauron Defeated Unwin 1992 US: 1992 Mifflin

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