Before Baggins

Tennants Auctioneers are delighted to announce that we will be offering an extremely rare first impression copy of a volume of poetry containing early works by J.R.R. Tolkien at our August auction of Books, Maps, Prints & Manuscripts. A highly prized treasure for all who love the works of the Middle-Earth creator, this rarity carries an auction estimate of £3,000-5,000 and is expected to attract International attention.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was demobilised from the army in 1920, after a brief engagement working on the Oxford English Dictionary, he accepted the position of Reader in English at Leeds University, becoming the youngest professor at the institution. Here, he spent five years before he accepted the Anglo-Saxon Professorship at Pembroke College, Oxford, during which time he famously wrote The Hobbit and the first two volumes of Lord of the Rings.

But it was during the Leeds years that he developed many of the ideas and themes that would shape his later works. Becoming highly involved in the life of the University, he contributed towards publications by the Leeds University English School Association, most notably a small book of member’s verses entitled ‘A Northern Venture’.

The Swan Press originally printed a first impression of 170 copies in June 1923, followed by a second impression of two hundred the following month, containing three original works by the young academic. Two of these, ‘Why The Man In The Moon Came Down Too Soon’ and the riddle poem ‘Enigmata Saxonica Nuper Inventa Duo’, would later find themselves published in revised form in ‘The Adventures of Tom Bombadil’ and the ‘Annotated Hobbit’ respectively.

A fully illustrated catalogue for the Books, Maps & Ephemera Sale will be available on our website, leading up to the sale, alternatively, please contact the salerooms for further details.