While every collection is different (that's the beauty of it!), there are a few items I would recommend to someone who is just getting started.
- The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
- The Silmarillion – If you enjoyed The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and want to know more about the creation and history of Middle-earth, The Silmarillion is a must-read.
- The Complete Tolkien Companion – The Silmarillion and many of Tolkien's other works are chock full of names and places. Sometimes keeping track of them all can be difficult; that's why I'd recommend J.E.A. Tyler's The Complete Tolkien Companion, which is essentially a glossary of all the people, places, objects, etc. found in Tolkien's writings.
- The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings DVDs and soundtracks
- Your own replica of The One Ring – you can find various versions of the One Ring at a variety of price ranges, at places such as The Noble Collection, Badali Jewelry, and even Etsy.
- A map of Middle-earth
Where to Look
- Chain and used bookstores – used bookstores are becoming increasingly popular and contain treasure-troves of books; but if you're in the market for a new copy, stores like Barnes & Noble can get you started.
- The Internet – you can find a lot of neat books on Etsy, eBay, and other online retailers. I've had a lot of success with AbeBooks.com, where I look whenever I'm in the market for a very specific copy of a book.
- Tolkien-specific shops – such as the official online Tolkien Book Shop and TolkienShop.com.
- Comic book stores – perfect for books, action figures, and other collectibles.
Ultimately, collecting is about having fun and doing what makes you happy. Don't feel you have to buy something just for the sake of adding it to your collection. And don't compare your collection to someone else's or let anyone tell you what to collect.
What items do you consider "must-haves" for the beginner collector? Share your suggestions and links in the comments below! And follow me on Instagram to see more photos of my Tolkien Collection!