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Mar 4 (edited)
2022/3/4 15:41:04 (GMT) Greenwich Mean Time, London, Dublin, Lisbon, Casablanca, Monrovia
This article is about the one volume Lord of the Rings paperback with cover illustration by Pauline Baynes. Pauline Baynes was commissioned in 1964 to produce a triptych illustration for the first deluxe boxset of The Lord of the Rings. Deagol has written a comprehensive article on this edition and the artwork. 
In 1968 George Allen & Unwin produced the first one-volume paperback of The Lord of the Rings. Due to issues with binding paperbacks at the time it was not possible to include the Appendices or Index, only a part of the Tale of Aragorn and Arwen from the Annals of the Kings and Rulers was included.
The book reprints Pauline Bayne’s illustrations from the front and back of the triptych but does not use her original spine illustration or her Lord of the Rings lettering, which was on the spine.
When you look at the spines of most copies of these books, they usually lack any red colouring or have a very small amount of barely noticeable red on the spines. However, in copies that have not faded the spine text contained the same red colour as the red text on the front cover. If you have a copy that still has ‘red’ text on the spine, then make sure that you keep it stored away from sunlight.
The publisher experimented with the size and shape of the lettering on the front cover and the spine and usually printed the text in red with a black border, and it is often just the black border that survives on the spine. However, in the case of the 1972 edition, they just used red on the spine for the book title and the author’s name and in a lot of cases these spines now appear to be empty except for the publisher’s name at the bottom.
Spine price 30 shilling (1st Impression 1968) and £1.75 (35 shilling) (6th Impression 1970) 
£1.75 (35 shilling) and £1.75 = 35 shilling (photo by AndyBirdUK)
£1.75 (9th Impression 1971) and £1.95 (10th Impression 1972)
£2.10 (11th Impression 1972)  and £2.10 (14th Impression 1974) 
£2.10 with text at higher position on spine 
£2.95 (14th Impression 1974), same impression but with a different RRP and £3.95 (17th Impression) 
£4.95 (3rd Impression 1981) 
£4.95 (3rd Impression 1981) and £5.50 (4th Impression 1982) (photo by AndyBirdUK)
Nelson & Sons edition — 1968
I don’t have a copy of this Canadian edition but it can be seen in the photo of AndyBirdUK’s collection at the end of the article, no price on the spine and the publisher listed as Nelson.
Methuen edition — 1970
The Canadian Methuen edition from 1970 is smaller in size than the Nelson edition and has Methuen on the spine.
Nelson and Methuen editions (photo by Berelach)
Special thanks to AndyBirdUK for helping with images for this article. You can see AndyBirdUK’s very impressive shelf below.
I hope to shortly produce another article on the Book Club hardback editions with this cover.
For more information on these editions please refer to J.R.R. Tolkien – A Descriptive Bibliography by Wayne G. Hammond and Douglas A. Anderson (Oak Knoll Books) A5g