Long, long ago, a 1937 first edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was forged by a printing press and sold. For a time, it was lost to man, buried in the piles of donated inventory at the Cancer Research UK superstore in Dundee, Scotland, until manager Adam Carsley spotted the worn copy on the shopfloor, and determined it was “not really sellable” per its age and condition, reports The Guardian.
So he listed it on eBay, finding that the shadows quickly descended: it sold for £10,099.50.
This copy features illustrations by Tolkien and was part of a print run of 1,500 copies.
An estimated 100 million copies of The Hobbit have been sold all up, but Tolkien was initially discouraged by sales of the book. A letter to Arthur Ransome, the author of Swallows and Amazons (<3), began, “Dear Mr Ransome, I am sure Mr Baggins would agree in words such as he used to Thorin—to have been fancied by you, that is more than any hobbit could have expected,” and advised that Tolkien would send a revised edition to Ransome “if there is a reprint”; an outcome not likely since “sales are not very great.”
Tolkien! Look at you now!
[h/t The Guardian]