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Map Annotated By Tolkien Was Found Inside A Copy Of 'Lord Of The Rings' (Photo)

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A map of Middle-earth featuring annotations by JRR Tolkien himself was recently discovered in a copy of "The Lord of the Rings" once owned by illustrator Pauline Baynes.

As Baynes worked on a color version of the map for a 1970 publishing of the book, Tolkien sketched small corrections and adjustments.

The author suggested, for example, Hobbiton was along the same latitudinal line as Oxford University where Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon.

The map, currently on sale for £60,000 (about $92,000) at Blackwell's Rare Books in Oxford, also insinuates "LOTR" city of Minas Tirith was inspired by real-life Italian city Ravenna.

Blackwell's Sian Wainwright told The Guardian,

The map shows how completely obsessed he was with the details. Anyone else interfered at their peril. He was tricky to work with, but very rewarding in the end.

Sir Ian McKellen, a direct beneficiary of the rewards of Tolkien's painstaking attention to detail, shared news of the treasure on Twitter.

"Perhaps the finest piece of Tolkien ephemera to emerge in the last 20 years." https://t.co/n4UT0FmlMh pic.twitter.com/v7VxzmwuEW — Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) October 26, 2015

Henry Gott, modern first editions specialist at Blackwell's, claimed the finding was a major coup for scholars and literary fans alike.

He explained,

Before going on display in the shop this week, this [map] had only ever been in private hands [those of Pauline Baynes]. One of the points of interest is how much of a hand Tolkien had in the poster map; all of his suggestions, and there are many, are reflected in Baynes's version… The degree to which it is properly collaborative was not previously apparent, and couldn't be without a document like this. Its importance is mostly to do with the insight it gives into that process.

Die-hard fans of the series who are curious about the famous collaboration can pop over to Blackwell's and take the map home for a couple (tens of thousands) of quid.

Citations: Tolkien's annotated map of Middle-earth discovered inside copy of Lord of the Rings (The Guardian)