A Middle-Earth map annotated by J.R.R. Tolkien himself, author of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, has been discovered and is now on sale for £60,000 or almost $92,000.
The map was found after Pauline Baynes' copy of "The Lord of the Rings" was handed to Blackwell's Rare Books, a bookshop in Oxford that buys and sells rare and collectible books. Baynes, an English illustrator, drew the artwork for Tolkien's "Farmer Giles" and for C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia." Baynes also presented Tolkien with her take on Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, of which the author approved.
According to the Guardian, Baynes took the map from a different edition of the book series and began coloring it as she was contracted to do so by Tolkien. Afterwards, the author annotated the illustrator's work using pencil and green ink. Baynes also added her own annotations to the map as she continued working on it.
"[The annotated map is] an important document, and perhaps the finest piece of Tolkien ephemera to emerge in the last 20 years at least," said Blackwell's.
Through the annotations and some related documents, it was revealed that The Shire's Hobbiton is in the same latitude as that of Oxford's. Following this, Minas Tirith, where the grand battle that decided the fate of Middle-Earth took place, is most likely based off Ravenna, the capital city of Italy's Ravenna Province. Jerusalem, Cyprus and Belgrade were also used as references.
More than anything the annotations show how obsessed Tolkien was with every detail of the fictional world he created. It is a rare peek at the critically acclaimed author's influences and how he formulated the books that many enjoy.