Britta was one of the founders of the Tolkien Collection Photo Challenge on Middle-earth News that was in part responsible for the popularity of the #TolkienCollection hashtag! It’s about time that we get to know more about her and her collection.
When did you first realize that you were a Tolkien collector?
I suppose my collection started around 2000, when I first started buying my own copies of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Once the movies started coming out, I began buying anything and everything I could get my hands on. From there it just kind of spiraled out of control.
Do you have one collection space for your Tolkien items, or is your collection all spread out?
Most of my collection is contained to one room – bookshelves, wall space, a large display case, and stacks of office cubbies for the miscellaneous items – but occasionally things overflow into other spaces.
Do you have some Tolkien books for your personal use and others that you keep in pristine condition?
I do have several copies I rotate through when re-reading the books; I take movie tie-in covers with me when I am out and about, as I would rather something happen to those than any of my favourite covers. As it stands, I don’t write in any of my books, but I am considering purchasing a new copy to highlight or write notes in.
Tell us about your collection and some of your favorite items.
If I may shamelessly self-promote here, I wrote an article on my blog last month about my Tolkien collection. I love every item I own, and there’s a story behind each item – but my favourite items would have to be the Barbara Remington-illustrated edition of The Lord of the Rings and the unauthorised ACE editions; my mother made Arwen’s Blood Red Dress for a high school Halloween dance back in 2004, so that holds a lot of sentimental value; and I recently purchased the Japanese translation of The Hobbit, which is a work of art in and of itself.
What are the top items you would save if your house caught on fire?
My first copy of The Lord of the Rings, which was a gift from my parents; both of my Arwen gowns; and my deluxe pocket edition of The Hobbit, which was a gift from my boyfriend several Christmases ago.
Which character do you most identify with and why? Do you own items related to that character?
I’m quite fond of Gandalf, so I have a lot of items related to him. My favourite items are a knife from Franklin Mint and my Narya replica from Badali Jewelry.
What are some amazing Tolkien items that are still on your wishlist?
At the top of my list are the rings Nenya and Vilya from Badali Jewelry. I have bought several items from them in the past and have been blown away by their craftsmanship. I would also love to start collecting artwork, especially the works of the Brothers Hildebrandt and Donato Giancola.
What do your friends and family think of your collection? How do you explain to non-collectors or non-Tolkien fans why you collect?
I’m sure they think I buy too many items, but everyone has their thing, and Tolkien is mine. I am fortunate enough to have friends and family who support – and even encourage – my collection.
Do you have any hangups about loaning out your Tolkien books to friends or family?
As selfish as it sounds, yes. I have shared a copy of The Hobbit with my sister, but generally I am reluctant to loan out books to friends.
Where do you go to find items for your Tolkien collection?
I typically visit used bookstores and antique shops for my books and early Lord of the Rings/Hobbit memorabilia; comic book stores are also good places to look, though the prices tend to be high; and of course, there is the Internet.
Do you have any tips for other collectors?
Collect what you like. Don’t let other people tell you what’s collectible and what isn’t. And don’t judge your collection against someone else’s. It’s not a competition or something that should stress you out. Just have fun with it!
Thank you so much for sharing your Tolkien Collection! Where can people find you online, if they want to see more?
I’m everywhere! You can find me on most social networking sites – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, etc – under the handle “tolkienbritta”. I also have a website (http://brittasiemen.com) and a blog (http://tolkienbritta.com).