J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings has long provided a safe space for fans of orcs, poem-songs, and fantasy cartography to come together in shared appreciation of their mutual loves. Now, we can add “rare book collectors” to the list of communal nerderies, with The Independent’s i100 blog reporting that a rare, Tolkien-annotated map of Middle Earth has been found tucked inside a copy of the books.
The tome in question was owned by Pauline Baynes, Tolkien’s long-time illustrator of choice. (Baynes, who Tolkien once complimented by saying she “reduced my text to a commentary on her drawings,” also worked with the author’s friend C.S. Lewis to illustrate the Narnia books.) The map—which is expected to sell for 60,000 pounds later this month—contains Tolkien’s hand-written notes on the world of Middle Earth, including thoughts about which cities his fictional constructs were meant to be reminiscent of, and the approximate coordinates of Hobbiton (which was apparently meant to exist on the same latitude as Oxford in England).
Anyway, like all of Tolkien and Baynes’ cartographic collaborations, the map is both deeply beautiful and incredibly geeky, and hopefully won’t receive too much damage when Peter Jackson snatches it up with some of his Hobbit money, and proceeds to rub the thing all over his heavily bearded face.