Tolkien letter headlines Heritage Rare Book auction

Dallas — “So the correct pronunciation is Tolkeen, with the accent on the ‘o’ (as in doll). Sincerely, JRR Tolkien.”

Fans of the great fantasy novelist may be familiar with his penchant for writing letters to his family and publishers, but the letters most cherished by his loyal readers are those that explain his inspiration for Middle-earth. Few people had more passion for world-building than Tolkien, with the possible exception of his fans, who even in the early days of the series personally contacted the author for clarification of source material. of their favorite stories.

To a fan who wrote Tolkien upon the release of his brand new Lord of the Rings trilogy, Tolkien thoughtfully replied on April 12, 1956:

“It is not consciously based on anything other than complete ‘invention’, such as the supposed Elvish languages. But there is no ‘invention’ in a vacuum, and naturally in digested form I am indebted to the myths and legends of literature. But more especially to those of England and Wales (for the Gaelic of Ireland and Scotland, I have a lot of affection).”

This two-page, handwritten and autographed letter from the author to an enthusiastic reader is one of the many masterpieces of Heritage Auctions July 27-28 Signature® Rare Book Auction.

According to James Gannon, director of Rare Books, “The answer, coveted by any fan of the author, addresses some of Tolkien’s inspirations for The Lord of the Rings, rooted in his academic scholarship and personal interests and a brief history of name ‘Tolkien.’ It’s a remarkable and insightful offering.”

In keeping with this gratifying discovery, Heritage is also highlighting a first edition set of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, including the books’ original illustrated dust jackets. The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The king’s return form a “stunning whole, almost as captivating and coveted as the One Ring itself. The first impression of The Fellowship of the Ring consisted of only 3,000 copies, making a complete trilogy set in this state something truly valuable,” says Gannon.

Also on offer are two superb examples of early printing: a single sheet of Gutenberg’s Bible and a first edition by Anton Koberger. Nuremberg Chroniclethe latter illustrated with over 1,800 woodcuts by Michael Wolgemut, Wilhelm Peydenwurff and a young Albrecht Dürer, at the time one of Wolgemut’s apprentices in the Koberger printing press.

This edition of the Nuremberg Chronicle, printed in 1493, is an elephant folio with the title page in Latin. “It is one of the most famous books published in the early years of printing,” says Gannon, and one of the first to fully incorporate beautiful carved woodcuts independently of the text. (Dürer’s illustrations, of course, are unsurpassed.) This is a rare find: there are probably fewer than 1,000 surviving copies of this Latin edition, most of them in institutional hands.

As for the Gutenberg Bible (which has been given its rightful place as Europe’s first printed edition, using Gutenberg’s invention of the movable metal type), Heritage offers a single folio sheet on bull’s head watermarked paper, circa 1455. The sheet contains I Kings (I Samuel) 29:6-31:12, “including the death of Saul, a decisive moment after which David became king.” This sheet is inserted in “A Noble Fragment…” by A. Edward Newton signed and inscribed by Newton to Lucy Doheny, a gift from her aunt, noted collector Estelle Doheny.

Just 500 years later, Aldous Huxley wrote The best of worldswrote George Orwell One thousand nine hundred and eighty fourand Kurt Vonnegut wrote Slaughterhouse-Five. This heritage event presents the first editions of the three masterpieces of the modern era, which are still as topical as ever.

This example from Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) is in good condition, boldly signed by the author with a self-caricature in ink on the half-title page. Huxley’s Classic Dystopian Polemic The best of worlds (London: Chatto & Windus, 1932) is presented in the publisher’s teal canvas, gold-stamped spine, with its original illustrated dust jacket. Always Premonitory of Orwell One thousand nine hundred and eighty four (London: Secker and Warburg, 1949) is one of the most cited and referenced books of our contemporary age; this first edition comes from Gary Munson’s beloved collection, as does the Brave New World from this event.

“Mr. Munson, who recently passed away, was a longtime and extremely dedicated collector of genre fiction,” Gannon said. “He placed particular emphasis on supernatural stories, apparitions, horror, fantasy, ghosts and also had extensive collections of mystery and detective, science fiction and action-adventure.”

Other selections from Munson’s famous collection include early editions of Philip K. Dick’s landmark novel Do androids dream of electric sheep? (1968; and known to moviegoers, of course, as 1982 blade runner); Always invigorating by Anthony Burgess A clockwork orange (1962); and H. G. Wells’ The invisible Man (1897), this extraordinary autographed and signed copy of an original ink drawing of the main character by Wells to the novelist Ralph Straus. These are just a few great titles from Munson’s collection in this highly anticipated auction.

Munson also collected the books of the late and great irascible American scribe Hunter S. Thompson. Here we offer in one stunning bundle Munson’s first edition of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Fear and Loathing on the ’72 Campaign Trail; Fear and loathing on the election campaign (this one signed and inscribed by longtime Thompson collaborator, illustrator and pal Ralph Steadman); and Angels of Hell. A strange and terrible saga.

This event promises something for all lovers of the rare and timeless, including Lewis Carroll’s coveted first editions Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1866), Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Or, The Whale. (New York: Harper & Bros., 1851) and a real favorite of collectors, Casino Royale, the first book in the James Bond series by Ian Fleming (London: Jonathan Cape, 1953). This is a fine copy of the story that started the Bond legacy, described by Fleming to his close friend, Robert Harling, as the “spy novel to end all spy novels”. Indeed, an auction to shake and stir.

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