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George Allen & Unwin. Perhaps the most unique offering to Tolkien book collectors ever: the first 10 impressions of The Hobbit, all with original matching jackets. (Unused previous impression jackets were sold on the next impression in some cases. These are matching impression books and jackets). While all ten may all be together in a private collection, this is the first time we are aware they have been available for sale as a single lot. It took more than five years of painstaking effort to collect them all. The first edition alone could cost as much as this whole collection in near fine condition or signed. From time to time the individual impressions come up for sale with jackets, but even later impressions are now rare with the original unrestored jackets. None of these jackets have any restoration and remain in the charming original state. It’s not always understood by new collectors the valueis more in the jackets than the book, as the jacket are more scarce due to wear, lossand handling. Each book and jacket impression is unique; different ads on the flap, prices, impressions and text changes and corrections. The condition of each also makes this a unique collection.
These were children’s books and the jackets suffered wear and tear even when the books were new, but over the years the paper has become brittle and delicate with age. Even with gentle handling they suffer further damage each time with small chips falling off. Some have closed tears, tears to cover seams or detached and in section in some cases, but this isn’t evident in the protective mylar. All jackets have tattering to spine ends, some paper loss, chips and scuffs to varying degree.Some are better than others as the paper was changed. The early impressions have some paper loss in particular, but this also makes them more affordable. Most have faded/darkening to the spine colours. All are good to very good, near fine in a couple cases. All original jackets with no restoration. We can offer a restored jacket for the 1st/1st Hobbit for an addtional price.
The books are in very good condition considering they are well love and read often. Some have slight lean and gift inscriptions, some of the middle impressions have “ghosting” on the book spine/covers where the white of the image is burned on the spine/book cover from the sun. All are complete, bindings tight, no serious stains, marks or damage. These comprise first and second editions, but are commonly refer to the overall impression in printing order 1st thru 10th. Up to the 3rdedition 1966 is considered scarce so there are three more books to complete the2nd editions. However we stopped at 10 is a nice round number!
These ten books are:
1937 1st Edition/ 1st Impression. 19371st/2nd. 1942 1st/3rd. 1946 1st/4th.1951 2nd Edition/ 1st impression, 5th overallimpression. 1954 2nd/2nd,6th. 1955 2nd/3rd, 7th. 1956 2nd4th,8th. 1957 2nd/5th, 9th and finally 19582nd/6th, 10 overall impression.
We first started selling Tolkien ten years ago. We have had early impressions, often series of later impressions, but never allthe first 10 book copies together. I doubt we will ever have them together again.