A treasure trove of JRR Tolkien memorabilia fetched tens of thousands of pounds when it went under the hammer today.

Lots included the last known photograph of the famous Oxford author.

The picture, auctioned by Bonhams in London, was taken by the fantasy writer's grandson Michael, on August 9, 1973.

The auction also offered the ultimate prize for Tolkien fans - a copy of the 1937 first edition of The Hobbit, inscribed by Tolkien to his friend Elaine Griffiths.

The book was sold to a telephone bidder for £60,000 - twice the pre-sale estimate and a world record for a signed copy of The Hobbit.

The photograph taken in Oxford, which went for £864 to a private bidder, shows the author in Oxford Botanic Garden, leaning against his favourite tree - the Black Pine he named Laocoon. Tolkien died on September 2, 1973.

The photograph was a gift to Ms Griffiths, from the author's daughter Priscilla, who wrote on the back "For Elaine with love from Priscilla".

Bonhams spokesman Joy Asfar said: "It was an amazing auction. Everyone here is stunned that this copy of The Hobbit went for so much. It's a world record."

Tolkien wrote The Hobbit for his children, but Ms Griffiths thought so highly of the tale that she suggested it should be read by Susan Dagnall at publisher George Allen and Unwin, who agreed to publish the book.

It is illustrated with many black and white drawings penned by Tolkien himself.

The Hobbit is Tolkien's most successful book and was a prequel to the longer novel, The Lord of the Rings.

The story follows hobbit Bilbo Baggins on a perilous quest for treasure.

The book was an instant success, with the 1,500 copies of the first edition selling out in weeks. It has sold more than 100m copies and was voted the most significant children's book of the 20th century by the Library Association.

Also auctioned was a copy of the first foreign language edition of The Hobbit, translated into Swedish in 1947, again inscribed by Tolkien to Ms Griffiths. It sold for £1,560.

The Hobbit has since been translated into nearly 50 languages and a film version is being prepared by the team responsible for the successful Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.