Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Price per Word

In May 2024, a scrap of papera legitimate Tolkien manuscriptwas auctioned at Doyle of New York. The piece of paper is 3 3/4 x 7 inches, and contains sixteen words, plus Tolkien's signature. The words are from a letter of 30 June 1972 that Tolkien sent to The Daily Telegraph, and which was duly published in their issue dated 4 July 1972.  Here is the item, as it appears on the Doyle auction website:

The price realized, with Buyer's Premium (but not including the sales tax), was $24,320, which considering the content to be sixteen words, comes to a price of $1,520 per word. Yikes.


  1. That's a lot of money, but the quotation--striking, concise, personally revealing--could hardly be bettered as a statement of Tolkien's beliefs. I expect that the buyer was thrilled to acquire this scrap, which doubtless now hangs on a library or study wall in a suitable mat and frame.

    1. Douglas A. AndersonJune 13, 2024 at 11:47 AM

      Doubtless all true!