The Hobbit

From WikiFirstEditions
Jump to: navigation, search
The Hobbit
The Hobbit, 1st Edition
Author J. R. R. Tolkien
Publisher George Allen & Unwin
Genre(s) Children's literature
Fantasy novel
First Printing 1,500
Date 1937
Estimates $86,000 (As New)
$55,000 (Fine)
$48,000 (Very Good)
$33,000 (Good)
$12,000 (Fair)
$4,000 (Poor)
Estimate Date Jan 27, 2013
Estimate By James
Learn about Estimates, Appraisals and Provenance

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, by J. R. R. Tolkien was first published on September 21, 1937 by George Allen & Unwin in the United Kingdom. It's original print run was a mere 1,500 copies, which sold out by the end of 1937 due to enthusiastic reviews. The first edition was published in green cloth and was illustrated in black and white by Tolkien, who designed the dust jacket as well.


While reliable figures are difficult to obtain, estimated global sales of The Hobbit run between 35[1] and 100[2] million copies since 1937. In the UK The Hobbit has not retreated from the top 5,000 books of Nielsen BookScan since 1995, when the index began, achieving a three-year sales peak rising from 33,084 (2000) to 142,541 (2001), 126,771 (2002) and 61,229 (2003), ranking it at the 3rd position in Nielsens' "Evergreen" book list.[3] The enduring popularity of The Hobbit makes early printings of the book attractive collectors' items. The first printing of the first English-language edition can sell for between £6,000 and £20,000 at auction,[4][5] although the price for a signed first edition has reached over £60,000.[6]

According the the Wall Street Journal, a Bonham's auction in London, on November 13th of 2012, surpassed expectations when a first edition of The Hobbit sold for $12,100. A second auction, held at Christie's in London fetched $26,065 for a first edition.[7]

Signed First Editions

Signed copies of first editions are known to exist. A 1937 signed, first edition of the The Hobbit with dust jacket was presented and appraised on the Antique's Roadshow in 2011. The appraised value was $80,000 to $120,000. [8] The appraiser, Ian Ehling, said, "The package, to have a first edition, the first edition, first issue dust jacket and the signature is just... it cannot get any better.."

First American Edition

The early United States editions of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit were published by the Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston and New York. They are very collectible but extraordinarily difficult to identify.

See also