A RARE signature of Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien goes under the hammer at a Dorset auction house next month.

The autograph, written on a small piece of paper and inscribed ‘for Mrs Gould’, is estimated to sell for up to £1,200 when it appears at Cottees’ new auction salerooms.

Cottees moved from its Wareham base to new premises in Poole this year.

Auctioneer John Condie explained: “It was given to the vendor’s mother by Tolkien himself after she had helped him with some pension affairs in 1971.

“She met Tolkien on several occasions and as thanks for her help he offered to give her some signed books.

“Because her work contract prevented her from accepting gratuities she was unable to accept – so instead, as a consolation, he sent a signed slip of paper to her home which she could then attach to one of her own books.”

That slip of paper remained in the envelope it was sent in, alongside a typed letter from Tolkien’s secretary, until recently coming to light.

Auctioneers expect it will attract significant interest from fans of the author.

Tolkien, who lived in a bungalow at 19 Lakeside Road, Poole, from 1968-1972, was not known for giving away his autograph. Indeed, he was often annoyed when pestered for it by fans, it is claimed.

The writer was a regular at Bournemouth’s Hotel Miramar, where a plaque commemorates his visits.

JRR Tolkien retired to Poole with his wife Edith after The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy had already made him a household name.

After his wife died in 1972 he moved back to Oxford.

Tolkien died on a visit to Bournemouth in 1973, although his remains are now with his wife’s buried in Oxfordshire.

Tolkien’s popularity soared when director Peter Jackson adapted The Lord of the Rings, and then The Hobbit, into a series of blockbuster movies.

The Cottees auction takes place on Tuesday, March 1 at the company’s new Mannings Heath Road premises.


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