First edition of ‘The Hobbit' sells for £137,000

The previous world record for a copy of the Hobbit was £50,000 set in 2008.

J.R.R. Tolkein gave 'The Hobbit' as a gift to a student

hobbit 800x500 c

First edition of ‘The Hobbit’ sells for £137,000

Today, at  Sotheby’s in London, a first edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ from 1937 sold for a new world record  price of £137,000, more than doubling its pre-sale estimate of £50,000-70,000.

Presented as a gift from the author to one of his first students at Leeds University in the 1920s, Miss Katherine (“Kitty”) Kilbride, it is inscribed with a handwritten note from the author in Elvish (please see below). The author continued to send letters, cards and books to her throughout his life.

j.r.r. tolkein the hobbit iii

The previous world record for a copy of the Hobbit was £50,000 set in 2008.

Kitty Kilbride

The recipient of this copy was Miss Katherine (“Kitty”) Kilbride (1900-1966) who had been one of Tolkien’s first students at Leeds University in the 1920s. Kitty Kilbride was, recalled her nephew, “…an invalid all her life and was much cheered by his [Tolkien’s] chatty letters and cards. …books were given to her as they were published”.

Her set of The Lord of the Rings (inscribed to “C.M. Kilbride”) was also sold at auction by Sotheby’s in London on 19 July 19, 1982,  and, later, Sotheby’s New York, December 10-11, 1993.

An autograph postcard to her, dated December 24, 1926, was sold at Bonham’s,  June 12, 2012. Kilbride’s letter of acknowledgement for the present volume is preserved in the Tolkien papers in the Bodleian Library (MS.Tolkien 21, f.66). She notes “what fun you must have had drawing out the maps”.

Editorial Note: This content has been independently collected by the EveryInvestor advisor team and is offered on a non-advised basis. EveryInvestor may earn a commission on sales made from partner links on this page, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations. Learn more about our editorial guidelines.
Taylor Holt - 300x300

Written by
Taylor Holt
Estate Planning Expert

Taylor Is Our Resident Estate Planning Expert. He Knows That Everything Revolving Around Wills or Funeral Planning Can Be a Sensitive Subject That People Don’t Like to Discuss. But He Also Knows How Important It Is to Know All There Is to Know About It. Taylor Makes It His Mission to Spread Awareness About Estate Planning, and We Believe Everyinvestor Is the Best Platform to Do That.

Monique - 300x300

Written by
Monique Pittman
Pensions Expert

Monique Is Our Resident Pensions Expert. Many People Postpone Planning Out Their Pension, Thinking That Is Something They’ll Have to Worry Much Later in Life. Monique Knows How Important It Is to Start Planning Your Pension Early, and She Wants You to Know It Too!

Written by
Lisa Schilling
Insurance Expert

Lisa Is Our Resident Insurance Expert. She Knows How Important It Is to Be Ready for Any Scenario, Especially When a Family Member Is Involved. Nobody Likes Being Found Unprepared in a Tough Situation! Lisa Can Find the Best Insurance to Cover Your Every Need, Present and Future.

Doyle Edwards - 300x300

Written by
Doyle Edwards
Mortgages Expert

Doyle Is Our Resident Mortgages Expert. He Comes From a Long Line of Financial Gurus, and It Truly Shows. Despite His Young Age, There Is No Question He Cannot Answer When It Comes to Mortgages, and His Ability to See Outside of the Box to Find the Best Mortgage Deals Is Truly Impressive.

jason stubbs 300x300 1.jpg

Written by
Jason Stubbs
Equity Release Expert

Jason Stubbs Is a Specialist in the Equity Release Sector. He Enjoys Helping Older People Who Are Struggling Financially Get Out From Under Financial Pressure.

rachel w.jpg

Rachel Wait
Personal Finance Journalist

Rachel is an experienced finance journalist and editor with a particular interest in personal finance and consumer affairs. She has vast experience writing about money issues, property, insurance, and consumer affairs, and you’ll find her articles regularly featured in top media and newspaper publications.

Reviewed by
Francis Hui
Senior Risk Manager

Having held various high-level roles across the industry, Francis is truly an expert in aiding UK citizens in their financial decisions and risk analysis. His unique insight and statistical knowledge make him the perfect person to help you take your financial future to the next level.
Mark Patterson

Written by
Mark Patterson
Mortgage Expert

Mark Patterson is a well-known expert in mortgages. He has been working as an expert for over 15 years, and he specializes in the UK mortgage market.
kath icon.png

Katherine Read
Consumer Affairs Writer

She writes on the topics of equity release, home reversion, and mortgages.

Nicola Date

Nicola Date
Writer & Journalist

Nicola is a financial writer for EveryInvestor and is passionate about the opportunities that equity release can open up for homeowners. Her extensive business experience and deep understanding of the industry means that she’s always up-to-date with the latest developments.