‘Errantry’, c.1931. This poem was originally unconnected with his legendarium and it is not known why Tolkien wrote out the opening lines using the Elvish alphabet. The text is actually in English.
‘The Adventures of Tom Bombadil’, c.1931. Although originally unconnected with the history and languages of Middle-earth, Tolkien wrote an early version of the poem in cursive Elvish letters.
The Book of Mazarbul, I, 1940s. This page is written entirely in runes; the letters favoured by the Dwarves. It was a form devised by Tolkien, called the Angerthas.
The Book of Mazarbul, II, 1940s. The second page was written entirely in Elvish letters called the Tengwar. Gimli identified this page as being written by Ori who ‘could write well and speedily, and often used the Elvish characters.’
The Book of Mazarbul, III, 1940s. The last page was written in both runes and Elvish characters and the handwriting was designed to differ from the previous two pages, indicating different authors.
Runic inscription from Balin’s tomb in the Mines of Moria, 1953. Reproduced in The Lord of the Rings.
Letter from Aragorn, King of Gondor to Sam Gamgee, Mayor of the Shire, written in the Elvish script, Tengwar. This was created as part of an epilogue to The Lord of the Rings which was never published.
Letter from Father Christmas, 21 December 1933. Letters from Father Christmas were written in a rather shaky hand to denote his great age and featured different coloured inks and decorated capital letters.
Note from the Great Polar Bear, c.1923. Other characters appear in Father Christmas’s letters and from time to time they wrote to the children as well. They each had their own individual style of writing.
Letter written by the North Polar Bear using the Goblin alphabet. A puzzle arrived in 1932 with a letter written in an entirely new alphabet. The key to this alphabet did not arrive for another four years!
‘Goblin Alphabet’, 1936. This revealed the symbols for individual letters as well as diphthongs and some other common letter combinations such as ‘ng’. Many of them resemble stick figures.