Lord Of The Rings author J.R.R Tolkien's letter to Lancashire fan set to fetch £10k at auction

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The letter is expected to fetch between £8,000-£10,000.

A precious handwritten letter J.R.R Tolkien wrote to an eight-year-old Lancashire boy in 1961 is set to fetch £10,000 at auction.

The Lord Of The Rings author penned the note to Christopher Howard who had written to him after his mother had read The Hobbit to him and his brother Nicky.

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Christopher wrote to the famous author telling him how much he had enjoyed The Hobbit and asked if he had written any more fantasy novels.

Tolkien replied on December 28, 1961, and told the youngster about his Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Christopher wrote to the famous author telling him how much he had enjoyed The Hobbit (Credit SWNS)Christopher wrote to the famous author telling him how much he had enjoyed The Hobbit (Credit SWNS)
Christopher wrote to the famous author telling him how much he had enjoyed The Hobbit (Credit SWNS) | SWNS

The author warns Christopher the plot is "grim and frightening" while the books are "very expensive" but suggests he borrows them from a library.

In the letter, which includes Tolkien's Oxford address and phone number, the author reveals how The Hobbit was written "specially for reading aloud."

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Tolkien also jokes about the weather, saying Christopher must be "frozen stiff" and says he put water out for the birds but it iced over just hours later.

Christopher, now 71, kept the letter and envelope safely tucked in a box for 63 years.

Tolkien replied on December 28, 1961, and told the youngster about his Lord Of The Rings trilogy (Credit: SWNS)Tolkien replied on December 28, 1961, and told the youngster about his Lord Of The Rings trilogy (Credit: SWNS)
Tolkien replied on December 28, 1961, and told the youngster about his Lord Of The Rings trilogy (Credit: SWNS) | SWNS

The letter is expected to fetch between £8,000-£10,000 but could sell for far more when it goes under the hammer at Hansons Ross on April 12.

Christopher, a renewable energy consultant from Wye, near Canterbury, Kent, said: "Back in 1961 we were living in the North West of England at the curious address you can see on the envelope, 'Asmall Lodge, Asmall Lane, Ormskirk, Lancashire'.

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"My mother was an English teacher who would read bedtime stories to my younger brother and I, and when we were aged six and eight she started reading The Hobbit to us.

"I quickly realised I wanted to read it myself, which I did.

Christopher, now 71, kept the letter and envelope safely tucked in a box for 63 years (Credit: SWNS)Christopher, now 71, kept the letter and envelope safely tucked in a box for 63 years (Credit: SWNS)
Christopher, now 71, kept the letter and envelope safely tucked in a box for 63 years (Credit: SWNS) | SWNS

"The magical effect of reading words that created pictures in my mind amazed me.

"I could see the dragon, Smaug, in his lair, the Dwarves in their mountain halls, Wizards, Orcs and of course, Hobbits.

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"I needed to know if the author had written any more books full of such thrilling adventures, and therefore wrote a letter to him which mum sent to his publisher, George Allen & Unwin.

“They passed it on to Professor Tolkien, who replied in a letter dated December 28, 1961.

The letter is expected to fetch between £8,000-£10,000 at auction (Credit: SWNS)The letter is expected to fetch between £8,000-£10,000 at auction (Credit: SWNS)
The letter is expected to fetch between £8,000-£10,000 at auction (Credit: SWNS) | SWNS

"You can imagine how thrilled I was to receive this letter.

"Immediately, on seeing the envelope, in my mind Professor Tolkien's beautiful handwriting transported our home straight to Middle Earth.

"In his reply, he took time to carefully address every point in my letter, referred to my younger brother Nicky, mentioned characters in The Hobbit, and informed me in detail about the other book - or books - he had written, The Lord Of The Rings."

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The letter, beautifully hand-written by fountain pen on headed paper, displays Tolkien’s Oxford address at the time - 76 Sandfield Road, Headington - and his phone number.

The letter displays Tolkien’s Oxford address at the time - 76 Sandfield Road, Headington - and his phone number (Credit: SWNS)The letter displays Tolkien’s Oxford address at the time - 76 Sandfield Road, Headington - and his phone number (Credit: SWNS)
The letter displays Tolkien’s Oxford address at the time - 76 Sandfield Road, Headington - and his phone number (Credit: SWNS) | SWNS

Amanda Butler, head of operations at Hanson Ross, said: “It's a wonderful find, a very touching, kind and personal letter.

"Professor Tolkien was a busy man, and yet he found time at Christmas to write to a young fan.

"The fact that our vendor has treasured the letter for life underlines its importance.

"It offers us a glimpse of Tolkien's kindness and integrity and is a welcome reminder of old-fashioned values and courtesy."

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