Rare handwritten JRR Tolkien letter to sell for $5,000

A two page handwritten letter from J.R.R. Tolkien is heading to auction at Heritage with a $5,000 starting bid.

The letter is written on 76 Sandfield Road, Headington letter headed paper, dated 12th April 1956.

Image: Heritage Auctions
Image: Heritage Auctions


Tolkien and his wife edith lived at 76 Sandfield Road from March 1953.

Tolkien and his wife Edith lived in the property from March 1953 to 1968 when the privacy intrusions of the fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings became too much and the couple moved to Bournemouth where Tolkien lived until his death in 1973.

The letter is a response to one such fan who had written to Tolkien to enquire about the origins of Tolkien’s stories.

Tolkien writes:

"It's not consciously based on anything but a complete 'invention,' like the supposed Elvish languages. But there is no 'invention' in the void, and naturally in digested form I am indebted to the myths and legends of literature. But most specially to those of England and Wales (for Gaelic of Ireland and Scotland I have to great liking)."

Tolkien ends the letter explaining the correct pronunciation of his surname before signing off with his autograph.

"The correct pronunciation is therefore Tolkeen, with the accent on the 'o' (as in doll). Yours sincerely, J. R. R. Tolkien."

It’s rare to see such a personal letter so collectors can consider this a great piece of Lord of the Rings memorabilia.

The letter starts with an opening bid of $5,000.

Handwritten Tolkien letters are few and far between at auction.

A letter in which Tolkien talked in detail about the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit sold for £9,375 at a Sothebys auction, whilst a 1949 letter in which he writes to a friend explaining that he had finished Lord of the Rings, sold for £7,800 in 2013, over double the original estimate. 

Full details at Heritage.



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