JRR Tolkien Collectors of Tolkien memorabilia may be interested in a signature of JRR Tolkien (accompanied by a letter from his secretary JM Tolhurst) that will go to auction next week in Poole in the UK.

According to the auctioneers, Cottees, Tolkien inscribed the autograph for a Mrs Gould in March 1971. Mrs Gould then worked for the Department of Health and Social Security in the Pensions Department and met Tolkien on several occasions to assist with problems with his pension.

At the time, Tolkien offered her some signed books but her contract prevented her from accepting ‘gratuities’. Instead he sent the signed slip of paper to her home which she could then attach to one of her own books.

The accompanying typewritten letter (dated March 30, 1971) from Tolkien’s secretary, reads:

“Dear Mrs. Gould, Professor Tolkien has asked me to send you this signature which you can insert in your book, with his thanks for your kind assistance. Yours sincerely J. M. Tolhurst Secretary”.

The autograph itself, written on a slip of gummed paper, has a dedication: “for Mrs Gould”.

She never did attach it, and it remained in the envelope sent to her along with the letter.

Tolkien was not known for giving away his autograph and was annoyed to be pestered by fans for it. He lived for a time in Lakeside Road in Poole before moving back to Oxford after the death of his wife, Edith.

Cottees estimates the value of signature and letter at £800 to £1,200.

Keen collectors should be able to find the auction online here on The Saleroom. They may also find this article over at Tolkien Library on Tolkien’s signature of some use.

The auction will be held on March 1, 2016 at 10:00 GMT.