The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien Collectors Edition [Book Design]

This month I am doing a book design review on the Hobbit Collector’s Edition apparently published in 1966 by the Houghton Mifflin Company.

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I bought this book in 2013, I think. Four years later, the designs on the book cover have not aged well at all! The gold and red foil rune stamping on the cover and along the spine have turned into a faded blackish color. It’s a shame really because the designs are really nice! I’ve always kept this in the slipcase so I don’t think this was a consequence of exposure.

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Example of book in mint condition; taken from google
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My book; significant fading on book cover after 4 years.
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Google image

 

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My book

The slipcase is covered in leatherette paper. My slipcase’s covering was starting to peel off and I had to glue it back on. The book itself is not leather bound although the material also gives it the appearance of leather and it has also started to fade.

While the pages are not gilded, they are speckled with green on the edges which gives them a unique look.

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The paper itself is not the one found in regular paperbacks or hardcovers. Both the text and illustrations are in a white, matte paper that is typically used for illustrations only. The text has green accents throughout giving it a nice touch. The paper is quite nice looking although, for people who find this hard on the eyes or prefer cream colored paper, this is not for you.

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The book has various illustrations in pale-green and black colors and five fully-colorized illustrations.

 

 

For me,  a collectors edition is to have a book that will stand the test of time if properly taken care of. I’ve seen pictures of this edition from other buyers and I would love to know how old their editions are since I can’t explain why my edition has deteriorated so quickly despite being in the slipcase. This edition’s exterior, although lovely at first, has not aged well for me and defeats the purpose of a collectors edition. Still, the interior is really great if you don’t mind white paper which I don’t.

Overall it’s a nice, affordable edition to have for amateur collectors. Right now this edition is sold for $25 USD on Amazon. It’d be good to see how other editions of the Hobbit like the Folio Society or the Deluxe Edition by Harper Collins measure up.

Has anyone come across this edition? What are your thoughts on collector’s editions of books? Any good or bad experiences?

6 comments

  1. Man, that is a real shame that the book hasn’t stood up to the test of time. Especially considering how nice it looks on the outside initially.

    The only Hobbit in hardcover I own is the sfbc edition. I’ve thought about getting some sort of nice collectors edition over the years but there has always been “something else” that took the money 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s terrible that it faded so quickly! The whole point of a collector’s edition is that it stands the test of time. I guess it is a pretty affordable edition (I’ve seen collector’s editions for $40 or $50) but it still shouldn’t fade like that if kept in the slipcase.

    I haven’t really bought any special editions, but I’d love to at some point. I guess my first order of business is to get a new book case, since my old one is ugly and overflowing… then I can think about buying some collector’s editions to put on it 🙂

    Like

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