A first edition of “The Hobbit” accompanied by a handwritten note in Elvish by British author J.R.R. Tolkien was sold by Sotheby’s at auction on Thursday for £137,000 (187,000 euros, $211,000).
The book was a gift from the author and is dedicated to Miss Katherine (“Kitty”) Kilbride, one of his first students at Leeds University in the 1920s.
The lines in Elvish — a language invented by Tolkien — are extracts from a verse in “The Lost Road”, a time-travel tale that Tolkien never completed.
The book dates from 1937 and the price it fetched beat the previous auction record for “The Hobbit” of £50,000 in 2008, Sotheby’s said in a statement.
Kilbride was an invalid and Tolkien sent her letters and cards throughout his life, as well as supplying her with copies of his books as they were written.
Kilbride’s thank you letter for the volume sold on Thursday is in Oxford’s Bodleian Library and notes “what fun you must have had drawing out the maps”.
The popular book, which introduced characters such as Bilbo Baggins who would re-appear in the “Lord of the Rings” epic, was turned into a hugely successful fantasy film series by director Peter Jackson.
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”, released at the end of last year, was the last of six films adapted from Tolkien’s books.