|An important association copy, inscribed by the author on the front flyleaf, with "To Stella Mills, from her old friend, J.R.R. Tolkien," will be offered for auction at PBA galleries in San Francisco (USA) on the 25th of June.
Stella Marie Mills was a student of E.V. Gordon and J.R.R. Tolkien at Leeds and she later edited and translated, under the guidance of Godron, "The Saga of Hrolf Kraki" an Icelandic or Viking epic, which was published by Oxford University Press in 1933.
In the Road to Middle-earth by Tom Shippey we can read that the character of Beorn in Tolkien's The Hobbit was inpired by Bothvarr Bjarki from the Hrolf Kraki saga. Her translation was in fact dedicated to Tolkien. Ms. Mills remained close friends with the Tolkien family throughout her life.
This particular copy was a gift from Tolkien to Ms. Mills and shows a nice early authograph. Tolkien collectors might recognise this book since it was on sale by Marion Meyer Rare Books in New York not so long ago.
|The book is finely bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe Zaehnsdorf in full black morocco. The binding was done after 1990; Zaehnsdorf, reknowned for fine bindings since 1842, recently joined Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
It is gilt tooled, and has on-lays in many colors, with front and rear covers each jeweled with 10 red stones within the borders and a single white jewels within the central designs. A third white jewel adorns the spine. The silk moiré end leaves, gilt-rolled board edges and all gilded page edges, make this Hobbit stunning.
|On the front cover, in a cave-fortress drawn in gilt, a sinuous red dragon guards piles of treasure surmounted by a radiant pearl (presumably representing the Arkenstone of Thrain).
On the rear cover the Hobbit approaches the treasure, holding a torch and a pearl. Both covers have on-laid maroon and green borders decorated with Celtic interlace and lozenges in gilt, with 10 red jewels on small yellow floral on-lays. The spine, in six compartments separated by gilt tooled raised bands, shows four colored labels adorned with butterfly, spider, sword and dragon gilt tooling and a third white jewel.
|The full morocco front and rear doublures are bordered, titled, and accented in gilt, created in an intricate mosaic of many colored on-laid morocco depicting two imaginary landscapes from the book, "Rivendell" and "Mirkwood".
The binder made a small mistake and wrote "Riverdell", but it ressembles very well Tolkien's own interpetation of the valley.
Housed in a velvet-lined book-style drop-back case of full morocco, titled in gilt on spine. First Edition, First Printing.
|This first edition The Hobbit is housed in a velvet-lined book-style drop-back case of full morocco, titled in gilt on spine.
It is a first edition, first printing in near fine condition. One of only 1,500 copies printed in the First edition of the author’s first novel. With the perfect Tolkien signature and nice association the auction house PBA galleries estimates it will sell between $60.000 and $90.000 (USD).
Watch Bruce from PBA Galleries show the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
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