BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008, 16:09 GMT
Tolkien's Hobbit fetches 60,000
A Bonhams auctioneer reading the first edition of The Hobbit
The 1937 copy of The Hobbit was expected to fetch up to 30,000
A 1937 first edition of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit has been sold at auction to an anonymous bidder for 60,000 - twice what it was expected to reach.

The Hobbit was Tolkien's most successful book, establishing his name as an author, and came before the longer Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Maps, photographs and manuscripts were also on sale at Bonhams in London.

The copy of The Hobbit is inscribed to Tolkien's friend Elaine Griffiths, who had originally helped get it published.

Tolkien had intended the book for his children but after reading it, Ms Griffiths recommended it to publishers George Allen & Unwin.

Favourite tree

The first edition of 1,500 quickly sold out and it has since sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.

The auction also included the first foreign language edition of The Hobbit, translated into Swedish in 1947, which fetched 1,560. It had been expected to reach 400 to 800.

The last known photograph of Tolkien, taken by his grandson Michael on 9 August 1973, was sold for 864.

The photograph - which was expected to fetch up to 600 - shows the author in the Oxford Botanical Gardens leaning against his favourite tree, the Black Pine he named Laocoon.

It was a gift to Elaine Griffiths from Tolkien's daughter Priscilla, who wrote on the back "For Elaine with love from Priscilla".

Tolkien, who was raised in Birmingham, spent most of his life as an academic in Oxford, before retiring to Dorset with his wife, Edith.

After she died he sold up and moved back to Oxford.



SEE ALSO
Tolkien's home to be demolished
07 Sep 07 |  Dorset
Fans flock for 'new' Tolkien book
17 Apr 07 |  Entertainment
'New' Tolkien novel goes on sale
17 Apr 07 |  Entertainment
Son completes unfinished Tolkien
19 Sep 06 |  Entertainment
Tolkien statue gets the go ahead
02 Mar 07 |  West Midlands

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific