In our ongoing Collector Spotlight series, we’re taking a closer look at collections and their collectors! This week, we’re featuring Melissa, a Tolkien fan with a fantastic collection of books, weapons, and action figures!
It has been great to get to know Melissa through this interview, and a large part of that is because she’s so nice! If some of these photos seem familiar, it might be because you’re already following her on Twitter (@AvengeThis) or Instagram (@mells_corner). While we’ve seen photos of her collection on social media, first on the #CollectorsSickness hashtag and now on #TolkienCollection, we never quite realized how big her Tolkien Collection was. She also happens to be our first Collector Spotlight with a Swedish Tolkien fan — isn’t it great how our mutual love of Middle-earth can bring us together from all over the world?
When did you first realize that you were a Tolkien collector?
I was first introduced to Tolkien after watching The Lord of the Rings movies. I think I must have been around thirteen at the time. I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings books in three days and my life would never really be the same after that.
When did you first realize/decide that you were a Tolkien collector?
It just kind of happened! I bought a thing here and another there, and suddenly I had a whole bookshelf filled. I started buying more and more, and the rest is history. I got my first item before I even knew what LOTR was, haha. I was going to give it away, but now it´s one of my favorite items (It was a limited edition promo book for The Fellowship of the Ring).
Do you have one collection space for your Tolkien stuff or is it all spread out?
You could say that my room is Middle-earth themed. I have two (and a half) book shelves and a sideboard where I keep most of my collection. When I ran out of space, I started putting stuff up on the walls. I once had my room called a “museum” by a kid; I thought that was funny.
I´m trying to keep all my Hobbit items in one place, but it´s not easy. I never thought that The Hobbit would take such a dominant part in my collection. Arranging everything on the shelves has been really fun!
How do you decide what you want to collect?
At first, I collected pretty much everything I could get my hands on (in some ways I still do), like books, dvds, games, magazines, action figures, soundtracks, mugs etc. In later years, my focus has been more on action figures and Middle-earth weapons and replicas. I have been really into Middle-earth jewelry lately!
My book-section isn’t that big, so that is something that I really want to expand on. I´m currently looking for old Swedish copies of The Hobbit that was titled “Bilbo – en Hobbits äventyr”. My old copy (the first Tolkien book I ever read) was sadly stolen.
I´m not really interested in collecting Middle-earth Lego at the moment, but that might change in the future.
Tell us about your collection and some of your favorite items.
I´ll start with the weapons. Hadhafang has always been the one sword that I wanted to own, my preciousss. I had to wait for almost 10 years before I had the chance to buy it at a convention. After the release of The Hobbit movies, I also fell in love with the dwarven weapon designs. I don´t have that many weapons now, but my collection is starting to grow.
I also own some more unconventional items, like popcorn boxes and hobbit mugs from the cinema, birthday cards, old movie tickets, and these unofficial LOTR action figures that I got from my friend for my birthday a couple of years ago! There’s something charming about a beige Saruman isn’t there?
My favorite line of action figures are “The Lord of the Rings – Armies of Middle-earth Battle Scenes”. It´s special to have some of your all time favorite movie scenes as action figures. These include scenes like Eowyn vs the Witch-king, Gandalf vs Saruman, and Sam vs Shelob. Oh, how I wish that they made stuff like this for The Hobbit.
I collect Middle-earth DVDs (and VHS) like Ash Ketchum collects Pokemons. “Gotta catch ´em all!” I was lucky to get this DVD shelf from my local food store to keep some of the DVD in.
There seem to be two kind of people when it comes to collectible action figures — those who keep everything in their original packaging, unopened, and those who take the figures out so they can play with them! Which kind are you?
I cry a little inside at the mere thought of opening up my collectible action figures…Yep, I am one of those people. I just think they look so nice and clean (and easier to dust ;D) in their packaging. The packaging itself can be quite beautiful too! If I really want to open one up, I usually buy two of that item.
Which character do you most identify with and why? Do you own any items related to that character?
Samwise has always had a special place in my heart! His loyalty, warmth, and bravery inspire me to keep fighting every day. I can only aspire to be like him. “When the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer,” right? Sadly, I don´t have that many Sam figures, but I met Sean Astin many years ago and had the chance to get a picture of Sam and have Sean´s book There and Back Again: An Actor’s Tale autographed. I was a happy hobbit that day!
What are some Tolkien collectibles that are still on your wishlist?
The list is a mile long! Like I mentioned before, I have a real passion for Middle-earth weapons and replicas, and I probably won’t rest until I have all of them (it probably won’t happen, but wouldn’t that be a dream?). Especially Herugrim and the dwarven weapons. I also really, really want to find the Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition DVD collector box. I have the ones for The Two Towers and Return of the King, but can´t find the one for FOTR, and I would love to have the complete set.
What do your friends and family think of your collection? How do you explain to non-collectors or non-Tolkien fans why you collect?
It´s not something that I keep as a secret, but it is also not a thing I usually share with people I don´t know that well. I´m not really sure why I don´t. My closest friends and family are cool with it, though. We are all Tolkien nerds, haha. Sometimes, they are the ones that are excited to show my collection to others. I think part of what makes collecting fun is being able to share your passion with others.
Where do you go to find items for your Tolkien collection?
Do you have any tips for other collectors?
Keep yourself updated and do your research. If you are unsure about a price, check online and compare. There are a lot of unofficial replicas out there; make sure that you are getting what you are paying for.
The downside of having a big collection is the dusting! I usually dust with a dry towel or a smaller makeup brush. I never use any chemicals. Oh, and if you keep your collectibles near a window, make sure that the sun won´t bleach your items! I learned that the hard way. Keeping everything behind glass helps a lot.
If you run out of space? Your walls are perfect for collection displays!