Tolkien, J.R.R., The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King. London: Allen & Unwin, 1955, 1956. First edition, second and fourth impression printings. Masterfully rebound in full Moroccan leather, with custom gilt and blind embossed stamps, gilt tooling, and a new archival lined slipcase.
Presented is J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, in three volumes complete, to include The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. All first editions, the books were published by Allen & Unwin in London. The Fellowship of the Ring is a first edition, second impression printing, published in November of 1955. The Two Towers is a first edition, fourth impression printing, published in November of 1956. Return of the King is a first edition, second impression printing, published in November of 1956. All three books have been exquisitely rebound in full Moroccan leather. The front and back boards have been blind and gilt embossed with a striking design, a combination of “The One Ring” and Tolkien’s monogram. The three volumes are gold tooled throughout and presented in a custom-made archival lined slipcase.
After the success of The Hobbit, Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings over the span of thirteen years, between 1939 and 1952. Its final length was an astonishing 1,192 pages. Allen & Unwin, his original British publishers, were wary of both the cost of printing and the viable commercial success of such a long fantasy tale, despite the popularity of its predecessor. To minimize their financial risk, they convinced Tolkien to publish the novel in three installments, and agreed that Tolkien would not receive profits until after the books had paid for themselves. Unlike The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings novels were not illustrated, but Tolkien did design the original dust jackets and his son Christopher drew the maps.
The three books in The Lord of the Rings trilogy were first published in the following order: The Fellowship of the Ring, first published on July 29, 1954 in an edition of 3,000 copies. The Two Towers was published November 11, 1954 in an edition of 3,250. The final installment, The Return of the King, was published on October 20, 1955 in an edition of 7,000.
Very good condition. Internally, a nice clean set of books with healthy paper and no marks or tears. All folding maps are present and in very good condition. The Fellowship of the Ring has two black and white illustrations, as issued, on pp. 318 and pp. 333.
All volumes rebound in full Moroccan leather, embossed with blind and gilt stamps on the front and back boards, gold-tooled details throughout, raised bands, gilt tooling and titles to spine. All edges gilded. New blue marble endpaper. The three volumes are presented together in a new, archival lined slipcase with ribbon. Dimensions (with slipcase): 9 ½” H x 4 ½”W x 6 ⅛” D.
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