1937 edition of The Hobbit – £2200 at Ewbank’s.

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Lacking a jacket, it was not even in the original publisher’s binding but in a green cloth one that bore a defaced ‘Boots Booklovers Library’ sticker. It also showed fire damage to some pages and was lacking two of the maps – Thrór’s map and that of the ‘Wilderland’.

Despite these sorry defects, the copy offered by Ewbank’s (25% buyer’s premium) sold for £2200 at the auction on February 20, not the £50-80 suggested.