News | June 1, 2024

14th Century Royal Licence, First Edition of The Hobbit, and Beethoven Autograph Letter to Auction


Edward III licence with seal, 1368. Estimate: £20,000-30,000

Highlights of Bonhams' Fine Books, Maps & Manuscripts online only sale running June 7 - 20 include: 

*  a richly illuminated Royal Licence, bearing the great seal and witnessed by King Edward III himself at Westminster, granting David de Wollore property and rents in order to render divine service every day at the altar of St Andrew in Ripon Minster, Yorkshire, with other property assigned for the maintenance of the church. The document has been in the same family for over 650 years. On vellum, Westminster, dated November 15 1368. Estimate: £20,000-30,000.
* a first edition, first impression of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit or There and Back Again, author's presentation copy inscribed on half-title “Margaret [Wiseman] from Ronald/J.R.R. Tolkien 1937”. Margaret Wiseman was a Benedictine nun at Oulton Abbey and the sister of Tolkien’s friend Christopher Wiseman. Tolkien favoured her with presentation copies of his books over a long period, all signed with his rare 'Ronald Tolkien' signature, reserved for close friends. Estimate: £20,000-40,000.
* Ludwig van Beethoven autograph letter signed twice (“Beethoven”), May 3, 1825,  to music critic Ludwig Rellstab, in German, including a canon of three bars based on Friedrich von Matthisson's Opferlied ("...Das Schöne zu dem Guten, Das...") inscribed (in translation "...Although recovering, I am still extremely weak, so please be satisfied with this little sign of remembrance of your friend..."). In the letter he apologises for not being able to see him the previous day as he was making preparations to move to the countryside. The letter has remained in the Rellstab family until now. Estimate: £20,000-40,000