A rare first edition of JRR Tolkien's classic The Hobbit, inscribed by the author, is expected to fetch up to £30,000 at auction today.
Tolkien, who lived in Birmingham and who drew inspiration for the Lord Of The Rings from the Moseley landscape, originally wrote the novel for his children, but his friend, Elaine Griffiths, recommended that publishers George Allen & Unwin read it.
The Hobbit was published in 1937 and the first edition of 1,500 quickly sold out. It has since sold more than 100 million copies. A copy of the book inscribed by Tolkien to Ms Griffiths will go under the hammer at Bonhams in central London today with an estimate of £20,000 to £30,000.
The sale also includes the first foreign language edition of The Hobbit, the Swedish translation of 1947, which is valued at £400 to £800.
Collectors are expected to pay £400 to £600 for the last known photograph of Tolkien, taken by his grandson, Michael, on August 9, 1973 in the Oxford Botanical Gardens. It shows the author leaning against his favourite tree and was given to Ms Griffiths by his daughter, Priscilla.
The Hobbit introduced the world to Tolkien's fantasy lands populated by elves, goblins, trolls, wizards and dragons, and is a prequel to the later Lord Of The Rings trilogy.