A First Edition copy of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit sold for over $12,000 after it was discovered in a Cancer Research charity shop.

The Hobbit, the prequel tale for The Lord of the Rings, is one of the most famous pieces of fantasy literature ever penned, so it’s no surprise that a freshly-discovered First Edition copy sold for over $12,000.

Gollum speaks in a cave to Bilbo
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey/New Line/MGM/Warner Bros Pictures YouTube channel

First Edition copy of The Hobbit sells for £10,000/$12,000

Earlier this year, a charity shop in Dundee, Scotland, unearthed a hidden treasure – a First Edition copy of J. R. R. Tolkien’s original work, The Hobbit.

Only around 1,500 copies of the First Edition were printed, with the particular interest in this version coming from original black-and-white illustrations from the famed fantasy author himself.

The book was found by Cancer Research shop manager Adam Carsley, who told the BBC that the First Edition appeared “well looked after” after it was found on the shop floor, but they doubted whether it was in good enough condition to be sold to customers.

Instead, Carsley and his team decided to sell the First Edition copy on eBay, which they expected to earn them £500 (approximately $630) but were shocked to find out that the bids had quickly exceeded £10,000 (£10,099.50 to be exact, that’s around $12,782) as collectors desperately tried to get their hands on the precious copy.

“I opened the first page to see it was a first edition and thought it may be worthy of sending to the eBay team. I thought we’d get a maximum of £500 if we were lucky, so I couldn’t believe it when I heard a few months later it had sold for over £10,000.”

Carlsey added that the team gets “We get training and manuals to assist us with finding special items for our online marketplace” but also acknowledged that “I have also learnt a lot from our invaluable team of volunteers who specialise in different areas and in turn, train us.”

“To my knowledge this is one the most valuable items donated to one of our stores. Most definitely the highest price achieved on our eBay site for a single item. Donations like these help to fund lifesaving research across the whole of the UK.”

Bill Tompkins Book The Hobbit Archive
Photo by Bill Tompkins/Getty Images

The price of The Lord of the Rings has been in the news because the British Royal Mint recently issued a new £2 coin to celebrate the life and works of Tolkien.

The Royal Mint created four Tolkien-themed coins with the help of artist David Lawrence, one made from gold, two in solver, and one a mix of nickel and brass.

Each of the coins features Tolkien’s special monogram symbol, made from the letters of his name, as well as a quote from The Fellowship of the Ring: “Not all those who wander are lost”.

Interestingly, the New Zealand government notably created a series of gold Tolkien-inspired coins back in 2012 as part of the marketing campaign for The Hobbit movies.

As reported by Salon: “The 99.99 percent gold coins retail for NZ$3,695 ($3,027 U.S.), but are worth just NZ$10 at face value. It looks pretty much like a gold coin but with a rim inscribed, in both English and Dwarvish, with the words ‘Middle-earth – New Zealand.’”

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