Sotheby's New York has recently sold a first edition copy of The Hobbit for an impressive $260,000. Not only was the book of course written by Tolkien, but also signed personally by the author, with a note to the book's recipient, a former student of Tolkien's, penned in olde English. 

The passage has been translated: "There is many a thing in the West-regions unknown to me, marvels and strange beings, a land fair and lovely, the homeland of the Elves, and the bliss of the Gods..." The quote is an excerpt from one of Tolkien's unfinished works called, The Lost Road.

The initial recipient was, Katherine Kilbride, who attended lectures by Tolkien at Leeds University. Kilbride's family have said that she suffered from illness but found great joy in corresponding with the famous author. In fact one of her letters is preserved in the Oxford Bodleian Library and a notable line from the letter reads as: "what fun you must have had drawing out the maps."