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Demolition worker celebrating after postcard find at Tolkien's former home

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Demolition worker celebrating after postcard find at Tolkien's former home

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities

Demolition worker celebrating after postcard find at Tolkien's former home Demolition worker celebrating after postcard find at Tolkien's former home

A demolition worker was celebrating today after stumbling across a postcard sent to author JRR Tolkien hidden behind a fireplace in his former home.

Stephen Malton made the discovery while unscrewing the fireplace at The Lord of the Rings author's bungalow in Poole, Dorset, as the bulldozers moved in.

He is hoping for a windfall after his research on the internet showed another tiled fireplace surround from Tolkien's Oxford home for sale at 250,000 US dollars (£126,593), and he estimates the postcard is worth around £140,000.

The 42-year-old said a collector in Belgium, called The Tolkien Library, had offered 500,000 US dollars (£253,186) for the postcard and the fireplace.

He is hoping to sell the fireplace, postcard, a bronze fairy and stone gryphon which were found in the garden, at auction at a later date.

Mr Malton, who owns Bournemouth-based ProDem Demolition, said: "I've been in demolition most of my life. I have been doing this for 15 years, my father did it for 40 years before me.

"All of a sudden for this to land in your lap is just quite unbelievable."

Fans of the author, whose full name was John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, are upset at the demolition of the historic three-bedroom bungalow on Lakeside Road where Tolkien retired with his wife Edith in 1968.

He moved to Oxford in 1972 after she died and sold the house for £23,000 to Stephen Frankel who put it on the market for £1 million in 2006.

Developers Cranbrook Homes (Southern) Ltd bought the bungalow and secured planning permission to replace it with two four-bedroom family homes.

He said: "You could have knocked me down with a feather.

"To find something with the Tolkien name on it is quite amazing.

"We have looked under the floors, if we find a Hobbit that will be the icing on the cake."

The postcard is dated 1968 and addressed to the author at the Miramar Hotel, Bournemouth, where he and his wife spent many holidays.

It depicts a landscape in Cork, Ireland, and is signed "Lin", which Mr Malton believes to be fantasy author Lin Carter, who wrote A Look Behind the Lord of the Rings, published a year later in 1969.

It mentions seascapes and hedgerows, walking and driving in the countryside.

It reads: "I have been thinking of you a lot and hope everything has gone as well as could be expected in the most difficult circumstances."

Tolkien died on a visit to Bournemouth in 1973 and his remains are buried with his wife in Oxfordshire.

Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings film trilogy reignited interest in the author and The Lord of the Rings series has won numerous accolades including nation's best-loved book in the BBC's 2003 Big Read survey and favourite "book of the millennium" in a 1999 poll of Amazon.com customers.

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