Rare copy of 'The Hobbit' could fetch £10k at Cotswold auction

The book is expected to fetch up to £10,000 <i>(Image: Kinghams Auctioneers)</i>
The book is expected to fetch up to £10,000 (Image: Kinghams Auctioneers)

A rare edition of J.R.R Tolkien's 'The Hobbit' is expected to fetch more than £10,000 when it goes up for sale at a Cotswold-based auction later this month.

The first edition, first impression copy was published on September 21, 1937, by George Allen & Unwin.

Currently owned by a Berkshire resident, this copy was unearthed by Kinghams Auctioneers and is set to appear as Lot 400 on May 23, where it will have an estimate of £7,000-£10,000.

Oxford Mail: The first edition of 'The Hobbit'
Oxford Mail: The first edition of 'The Hobbit'

The first edition of 'The Hobbit' (Image: Kinghams Auctioneers)

Is one of only 1,500 copies initially printed, all of which sold out by December 1937.

'The Hobbit' or 'There and Back Again' is a children's fantasy novel set in Middle Earth.

Oxford Mail: The first edition of 'The Hobbit'
Oxford Mail: The first edition of 'The Hobbit'

The first edition of 'The Hobbit' (Image: Kinghams Auctioneers)

The tale that follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins was bestowed the New York Herald Tribune prize for best juvenile fiction upon release.

The story follows Bilbo, wizard Gandalf and 13 dwarves as they embark on a quest to reclaim the home of the dwarves and treasure from the dragon Smaug.

Oxford Mail: The book will go up for sale on May 23
Oxford Mail: The book will go up for sale on May 23

The book will go up for sale on May 23 (Image: Kinghams Auctioneers)

The book is illustrated in black and white by Mr Tolkien, who also designed the dust cover.

During the war, the book was unavailable and became rare due to paper rationing.

On the first edition, first impression there is a manual correction on the rear inner flap for 'Dodgeson', better known as Lewis Carroll.

Oxford Mail: The correction shows it is a first edition, first impression
Oxford Mail: The correction shows it is a first edition, first impression

The correction shows it is a first edition, first impression (Image: Kinghams Auctioneers)

Collectors and enthusiasts drive the market for rare first editions with auction prices ranging from £6,000 to more than £20,000.