Collector Profile: Oronzo Cilli

I live in Barletta (Apulia, Italy) and I work for a development agency in charge of European policies and youth policies. I discovered Tolkien in 1994, at 17 years old, thanks to a dear friend of mine. The first book I read was Tolkien's "The Hobbit" that very year. A book that keeps on returning in my life and to which I am particularly fond of. In fact, 10 years later I edited the second Italian edition of "The Annotated Hobbit" by Douglas A. Anderson published in Italy by Bompiani in 2004. This for me was a great joy and great honor.

Let’s talk about your collection

In 1997 my girlfriend, now my wife, gave me the trilogy of The Lord of Rings and since then I have not stopped to collect everything that relates to the wonderful Middle-earth.

In 14 years I have traveled extensively for work and leisure (United Kingdom, Belgium, France, New Zealand, Serbia, Greece, Croatia, Poland, etc.). and in every country I have bought something regarding Tolkien.

I have over 400 editions of Tolkien's books published in many languages, 150 of Tolkien and about a thousand between objects, prints, LP, stamps, action figures etc..

Mostly I collect different editions of "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" however I like to buy every single thing related to him and his works.

So far I have managed to collect the edition of The Lord of the Rings (in brackets the number of editions): UK (17), Italy (23), Saudi Arabia (1), Argentina (1), Armenia (1), Brazil (1), Bulgaria (1), Canada (1), Croatia (1), Esperanto (1), Finland (2), France (10), Japan (1), Germany (2), Israel (1), Norway (2), Netherlands (11), Poland (1), Portugal (1), Czech Republic (1), China (1), Republika Srpska (1), Slovakia (1), Romania (1), Russia (1), Spain (2), Sweden (2), United States (7), Turkey (1), Ukraine (1) and Hungary (1).

For The Hobbit: UK (15), Italy (22), Brazil (2), China (1), Esperanto (1), France (6), Germany (2), Greece (1), Iranian (1). Israel (1), Norway (1) , Netherlands (2), Poland (1), Portugal (1), Czech Republic (2), China (1), the Republic of Serbia (3); Slovacca Republic (1), the Republic of Slovenia (1), Romania (1), Russia (4 ), Spain (1) and the United States (9).

In addition, many other books written by Tolkien (about 200) in English, French, Serbian, Japanese, Dutch, Portuguese and of course all those published in Italy to date.

Even the books about Tolkien life and his work, over 150 editions, mainly Italian but also English, French and Japanese.

What else do you have?

I have a lot of items, almost one thousand, divided into two main categories: those related to the trilogy by Peter Jackson and those produced before the release of the three movies.
Among the items related to the movie: blades, masks, statues of various sizes (almost 80), coins and stamps created in New Zealand (60 pieces), thumbnail, normal and 3D puzzles, all versions of DVD and VHS, music CDs (all various editions), games, posters (almost 70), paper clips, rings, sheet music, chess and films of the three movies.

Among the objects of the pre-film music LPs and no different from Bo Hansson, Sally Oldfield, Leonard Rosenman, Rankin / Bass, Tolkien / Swann, The Hobbits, Nicol Williamson and many others. Calendars from 1974 to present, very original advertising material related to the late '70s films of Ralph Bakshi, ceramics, collections of prints and much more that you can check out - even if it is not complete - on my website tolkieniano.blogspot.com

What are the most important objects in your collection?

All items are important because each one of them reminds me something. Nonetheless there are few editions I am remarkably attached like the first Italian edition of the Fellowship published in Italy in 1967 by the Astrolabe, which did not find so much consensus. In fact the other two volumes were never printed and the rights were sold to Rusconi that made its fortune from 1970 to 2000 when Bompiani decided to take over the company releasing from then on all the Tolkien works in Italy.
Another edition is the one of ‘70s by Rusconi made in brown leather with marbled box set and printed in 300 copies "ad personam". My copy is in the top ten of those three hundred and was given to me from a very important personality in my country. Then I am very fond of the Ace Books edition, the first Dutch edition with the printed-mistaken name on the cover (JJR instead of JRR), the various Folio Society editions and the HarperCollins deluxe ones.

Then the one edition produced in part by me: an English edition of The Lord of the Rings 1969/1970 to which I replaced the originals covers with new canvas graphs drawn by me
And then an edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight edited by J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon of the Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1930 corrected impression of 1925 first edition.

Lastly there are also some letters that I received in 2004 by Priscilla Tolkien, and in particular a letter regarding the 50th anniversary after the publication of the first two volumes of the trilogy with a lovely message for her father.


In fact, in 2004, You were into the organization of the event that celebrated the first fifty years of publication of Lord of the Rings in Brussels, the Tolkien Fifty Years


Yes I was. In 2004, I sponsored and organized, together with the "Italian Tolkien Society" with the support of "Tolkien Society", the Tolkien Fifty Years in Brussels. It was for celebrate the 50 years since the first edition of "The Lord of the Rings." was released.
On that occasion I met a lot of “Tolkienians” around the world, from Israel to Japan, from the United States or Chile to New Zealand. It was an extraordinary event, which was recognized by the Italian Government, the European Parliament, the Ministry of Commerce of New Zealand and New Zealand Post Office just to mention a few. For the first time, Tolkien entered the European Parliament, a good result is not it?
For that event I received many messages of congratulations that were read during the venue by Romano Prodi, former European Commission President, Gianfranco Fini, former Vice President of the Italian government and lastly by Priscilla Tolkien.

bookmark Tolkien Library