The old that is strong does not wither. Thanks to more than eight decades of publishing history, the fan following created by Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, and the growing number of books written in the fantasy genre, Tolkien rarely fades from popularity. Amazon's new The Rings of Power series has also put the spotlight back on the stories of J.R.R. Tolkien.
The Tolkien literary landscape is huge and constantly growing. Collecting true first editions of Tolkien’s most famous books is expensive. AbeBooks sold a copy of The Hobbit for $65,000 (approx. £53,000) and a single volume from the Lord of the Rings trilogy (a first edition of Return of the King) for $5,000 (approx £4,000). A few J.R.R. Tolkien signed books are likely to be priced in five figures.
But all that is gold does not glitter. If you want to become a Middle-earth collector, the possibilities are endless, with limited editions, deluxe editions, illustrated editions, box sets and attractive modern editions of Tolkien’s books, most of which are continually being republished. You can also find books signed by JRR's son, Christopher Tolkien, who edited several posthumous editions of his father’s writing, and by the illustrator Alan Lee.
Other Tolkien collectables include calendars, maps and art. The 2021 Gawain and the Green Knight movie brought renewed interest in Tolkien’s translation of the text. In 2022, The Fall of Gondolin, and Beren and Luthien were published as standalone works for the first time.
Not all those who wander are lost. Find your pearl in the oyster of the Tolkien universe.