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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 February, 2004, 18:05 GMT
Royal Mail launches Rings stamps
Lord of the Rings stamps
The stamps are based on JRR Tolkien's original drawings
Royal Mail is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Lord of the Rings with a special issue.

The 10 illustrations relate to places and characters from JRR Tolkien's book and - with one exception - were taken from the author's original drawings.

"The images offer a rare glimpse of how the author imagined the places he created," said Mike Dalton, head of external relations at Royal Mail.

The illustrations are rarely reproduced or seen by the public.

The first two parts of The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, were published in 1954. The third, The Return of the King, followed in 1955.

The stamp illustrations are as follows:

  • Map from the Lord of The Rings Drawn by Christopher Tolkien, the map depicts areas from Middle-earth.

  • The Forest of Lothlorien The name give to the land to the east of Misty Mountains (usually called Lorien).

  • The Fellowship of the Ring The title of part one; the quest to take the One Ring to Mount Doom to destroy it.

  • Rivendell Hidden refuge of Elrond Halfelven, founded in the 2nd Age against the assaults of Sauron in Eriador.

  • The Hall at Bag-End Where Bilbo Baggins lived, named after a Worcestershire lane where Tolkien's aunt lived.

  • Orthanc Granted by Beren to the Wizard Saruman. The Tower played an important part in the War of the Ring.

  • Doors of Durin The enchanted doors could be opened by a single word, mellon - Elvish for friend.

  • Barad-Dur The dark tower of Barad-Dur was constructed by Sauron, using the power of the One Ring.

  • Minas Tirith The seven-tiered citadel of the Kings of Gondor, originally named Minas Anor.

  • Fanghorn Forest The forest took its names from the Elvish word Fanghorn or Treebeard.

The stamps were launched on Wednesday by the author's daughter, Miss Priscilla Tolkien, at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

"I am delighted that Royal Mail have chosen to honour my father's work with this stamp issue," she said.

"They have done a splendid job in reproducing his original artwork on the stamps, giving many people the first opportunity to view scenes from The Lord of the Rings as he imagined them himself."

The 10 first class stamps go on sale from Thursday.

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