Since the release of The Children of Hurin, a market for copies that feature bookplates signed by editor Christopher Tolkien and illustrator Alan Lee has rapidly developed. AbeBooks has sold 30 ‘signed’ copies of the book, edited by Christopher Tolkien, at prices in excess of $100 (about £50) since it was released on April 17.
One copy, featuring a publishers’ bookplate signed by Christopher Tolkien and Lee, has sold for $390. A UK deluxe edition, also featuring a bookplate signed by Tolkien and Lee, was offered on AbeBooks, and was sold for $750 from a bookseller in Kansas. The deluxe edition has been published in the UK but the North American version is not scheduled for release until May 16.
Christopher Tolkien is 82 years old and not making any promotional appearances to sign books. The publishers, Harper Collins in the UK and Houghton Mifflin in the US, have been using the signed bookplates for promotional purposes and the scarcity of these signed bookplates has meant the collector’s market for these books has developed very quickly.
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