With the recent release of The Hobbit at cinemas we can expect a slew of Tolkien collectibles to appear at auction. Leading the way is a UK auction house, which has sold a complete first edition signed set of The Lord of the Rings with impressive results.
The trilogy, each signed by JRR Tolkien on the title page, brought £24,000 ($37,995) to a January 30 auction in Gloucestershire. The price represents a 60% increase on the £15,000 high estimate given prior to the sale.
Also starring was one of the earliest known editions of The Hobbit, stamped "file copy" by the publishers, which brought £3,200 ($5,066).
All three of the Lord of the Rings books and The Hobbit manuscript were originally owned by Rayner Unwin of Allen and Unwin, the publishers that first put Tolkien's work on the shelves. The auction house's Chris Awbery explained to the BBC:
"Rayner Unwin was as a 10-year old, given the manuscript of The Hobbit by his father, Sir Stanley Unwin, saying 'what do you reckon to this?' He read it and gave a reader's report and said it was very good and should appeal to seven to nine-year-olds. He [Sir Stanley] published it, and the rest is history."
Since the release of the films, Lord of the Rings memorabilia has proved popular at auction, with Legolas' bow selling for $372,000 in December 2012 - a 210% increase on estimate. We can only bide our time before memorabilia from the Hobbit films reaches the market.