>Since I began on November 5, I have made many discoveries. I thought before I go forward with this blog, I’d recap one of the more memorable ones. Because I have always been a huge Tolkien fan, I was ecstatic when I found that our copy of the Hobbit (from the Wetmore collection) is the first edition, first impression. How do I know this? Look at the scan of the dust jacket, below. Notice that Dodgson is mis-spelled “Dodgeson” with a strike through the “e.” That, my friends, is a what we in bibliographical circles call a “point,” or an identifying mark of an edition. Many booksellers have thousands of points memorized in order to quickly identify desirable editions. Amazing, no?
Our copy was published in September of 1937, in an edition of 1,500 copies. By December, it had sold out.
What I love most about the dust jacket comment is the remark that although professor Tolkien was not convinced that his little book would be liked by very many people, the publishers had confidence that readers would respond favorably.
Seventy years later, it has been translated into more than forty languages and sold more than 90 million copies. Not bad for a professor of Old English who just wanted to tell a good story to his kids, eh?