A map of Middle-Earth annotated by author J.R.R. Tolkien has gone up for sale, after being discovered in a copy of The Lord of the Rings, owned by illustrator Pauline Baynes. The map show that Hobbiton is on the same latitude as Oxford and also hints that the city of Minas Tirith was inspired by the Italian city of Ravenna.

Martin Freeman in The HobbitMartin Freeman in The Hobbit.

The map was discovered loose in a copy of The Lord of the Rings, owned by illustrator Pauline Baynes. The illustrator is said to have had removed the map from another edition of the novel as she began work on her own colour Map of Middle-Earth for Tolkien.

Tolkien himself then diligently annotated the map in green ink and pencil, with Baynes adding her own notes. The map is currently on display at Blackwell’s Rare Books in Oxford and is being sold for the pricey sum of £60,000.

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Blackwell’s has described the map as, “an important document, and perhaps the finest piece of Tolkien ephemera to emerge in the last 20 years at least”. The map also uses Belgrade, Cyprus, and Jerusalem as other reference points and show’s the author’s obsession with small details.

“The map shows how completely obsessed he was with the details. Anyone else interfered at their peril,” Sian Wainwright from Blackwell’s said. “He was tricky to work with, but very rewarding in the end.”

“Before going on display in the shop this week, this had only ever been in private hands (Pauline Baynes’s for the majority of its existence),” Henry Gott, modern first editions specialist at Blackwell’s added.

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“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 (the majority of the annotation on the map is his), 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.” The author, who died in 1973, also served as a Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University.