Books

Beyond the books: 10 examples of Tolkienabilia

Just like Middle-earth, the J.R.R. Tolkien empire is spread far and wide. It goes beyond the mainstream editions of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and his other Middle-earth books. We’ve combed through thousands of listings on AbeBooks to identify 10 great examples of Tolkienabilia from unique editions to posters and maps.

Several of these items are unique and may sell quickly.

10 examples of Tolkienabilia

Unique rebound books

The Hobbit rebound by Charta
The Hobbit rebound by Charta

Dario Ustino and Jeanne Biagi run a bookbinding firm called Charta in Venice, Italy. They are skilled bookbinders who find old books and rebind them in artistic ways to create unique and beautiful literary objects. Naturally, books written by J.R.R. Tolkien are part of their work.

The Hobbit in Finnish illustrated by Tove Jansson

Hobbit in Finnish promo.jpg

The Hobbit has been widely translated and can be found in numerous languages. In 1962, the creator of the Moomins, Tove Jansson, illustrated the Finnish edition of The Hobbit, which was published as Bilbo: En Hobbits Äventyr. Tolkien and Jansson is a match made in heaven. Surely, there is room for Moomins in Middle-earth.

Lord of the Rings concept art by Barbara Remington

Lord of the Rings concept art
This concept art was designed in 1965 for the Ballantine US paperback edition.

After Ace Books had published an unauthorised paperback edition, Ballantine rushed to bring a new edition to market in 1965. Artist and illustrator Barbara Remington was tasked with producing this concept art even though she hadn't read the books.

Gandalf painting

Gandalf painting
This Gandalf painting is on slate and weighs more than 30 pounds.

This signed and dated painting of Gandalf wielding his goblin-killing sword, Glamdring, was created in the Catskills in 1990 by the artist Tom Son. The painting is on slate and weighs more than 30 pounds.

The 1974 Tolkien Calendar

1974 Tolkien calendar
The 1974 Tolkien Calendar

There are several Tolkien calendars but the 1974 Allen & Unwin edition is utterly old school. The front cover shows J.R.R. Tolkien relaxing on the grass, leaning against a tree, while wearing a tweed jacket. It can't get more English than this.

Map of Middle-earth

Map of Middle-earth
Pauline Baynes designed this map of Middle-earth

Narnia illustrator Pauline Baynes designed this map and the original is now housed in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. This poster map is now a scarce piece of Tolkien ephemera. In the map, Middle-earth is fashioned after the Welsh mountains that inspired Tolkien.

Tolkien-related posters

Lord of the Rings poster collection
Alan Lee contributed six paintings to the poster collection

There are various posters associated with Tolkien but we recommend HarperCollins’ 1999 poster collection featuring six paintings by Alan Lee.

Gollum movie lobby card

Gollum lobby card
A three-foot high movie lobby card of Gollum

Here are a couple of items for your "my precious" collection: a three-feet tall lobby card of Gollum used to promote The Two Towers film, and a book about how Gollum was created for the Peter Jackson movies.

Lords of Middle-earth fantasy game compendium

Lords of Middle-earth
A Lord of the Rings-themed fantasy game compendium

A fantasy game character compendium from 1986 which came in three volumes.

Tolkien colouring books

A Bestiary of Tolkien coloring book
Color in a dragon with the Bestiary of Tolkien coloring book

Middle-earth colouring books are as common as orcs in Mordor. We recommend A Bestiary of Tolkien Coloring because it's always fun to "Smaugment" a dragon with colour.

Share

More essential reading lists

By Julie Oreskovich
17 June, 2021
We kept this list to fiction this time. Some of the expected classics are there, alongside some more contemporary fare. There is some science fiction, some YA, and above all else, some unforgettable stories.
1 Min Read
03 June, 2021
Welcome to the Weird Book Room on AbeBooks, where you'll find some of the most funny and bizarre books, the world has ever known.
1 Min Read
By Richard Davies
21 June, 2021
This was a virtually impossible task. Put together a list of 50 must-read science fiction books and don’t make anyone angry. See our list of the best science fiction books to read.
1 Min Read