1965 "The Hobbit" First edition paperback in infamous "Lion" cover J.R.R. Tolkien Getting more and more scarce
"The Hobbit" by JRR Tolkien, a vintage first edition paperback published by Ballantine Books in August 1965, being the very first time the adventures of Mr. Bilbo Baggins was available in softcover format!
Has the elusive "Lion cover" featuring a lion in the art at the lower left of the oval. This artwork was only in print for 5 months, as Mr. Tolkien was not pleased that a lion had appeared on cover of his book. By 1966, the lion no longer appeared on the cover.This is a "good plus" to "very good minus" copy, it is not flawless, but still quite pleasing.The spine is not cracked, no loose, folded or torn pages. There are approximately 6 pages in the front of the book that have the upper corners crimped or chipped. There is a damp stain at the top edge of the text block that affects pretty much the entire block, also seen inside on upper portion of the pages. Front cover is creased along lower corner and spine, some faint spotting around title. Back cover shows some light blemishes and is mildly creased along the spine. The orange tinting to the outer and bottom edges of the text block is relatively bright and uniform.Not a perfect copy, but considering the importance and interesting background history of this book, still a worthy acquisition for most collectors.A really, really special gift for the Hobbit fan in your life!Will ship promptly, carefully packaged and fully insured. What's with the Lion? READ ON FOR THE BACK-STORY....We all know that there was never any mention of lions in "The Hobbit", either directly or implied. So what's the deal?Well, according to the historical lore, the artist - Barbara Remington, was not given an opportunity to read the book (or perhaps didn't take the time) before painting the cover...Tolkien's response: "I think the cover is ugly; but I recognize that a main object of a paperback cover is to attract purchasers, and I suppose that you are better judges of what is attractive in USA than I am. I therefore will not enter into a debate about taste—(meaning though I did not say so: horrible colours and foul lettering)—but I must ask this about the vignette: what has it got to do with the story? Where is this place? Why a lion and emus? And what is the thing in the foreground with pink bulbs? I do not understand how anybody who had read the tale (I hope you are one) could think such a picture would please the author."Needless to say, Ballantine was in a hurry to get the book to market in the wake of the release of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and between August and December of 1965, printed and shipped 5 printings of "The Hobbit" with a lion in the picture.Subsequently, the image was airbrushed to remove the lion (why did the emus get to stay?), and several later printings with the airbrushed, "non-lion" covers continued to be sold in America, until, as best as I can tell, in 1973, the cover was changed to feature artwork by Mr. Tolkien himself.In any case, this is a fun bit of Middle-Earth history, and is not something you find too often in the 21st Century.This will make a really cool gift for your favorite Tolkien fan - or you! Will ship promptly, carefully packaged and fully insured.This is a really fun, amazing piece of Hobbit history!