Mathoms: those totally useless objects that we somehow can’t let go of. We all have them. When those mathoms relate to a particular passion — Tolkien, for example — some of us fervently seek out such objects, naming ourselves “collectors.” I admit: I am one of those collectors. I also admit that my collection of Tolkien-related treasures ranges from the sublime to the — let’s be honest — ridiculous. As an experienced mathom-keeper, I thought that I could provide some suggestions, with the entry-level collector particularly in mind. If you are an experienced collector, read on! Perhaps some of these gems have escaped your notice until now. There are so many wonderful things out there, I can’t possibly share them all here. I have picked a few of what I consider the mathomiest mathoms available, for those of you who share my delight in even the silliest Tolkien-themed items. With apologies, I should note that some items may be available only from sellers in the USA.
Cardboard Character Stand-ups
What could be more fun than populating your home with Tolkien characters? Choose from an assortment of characters that represent the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. And just think, you won’t have to feed your new roommates. This point is clearly an advantage if you’ve invited Hobbits or Dwarves to stay. Character stand-ups are available from various sources, including Amazon.com in the USA (prices $35-$40 USD), and Amazon.co.uk in the UK (average price £31). Be careful of where your cardboard friends ship from: shipping prices can easily equal the cost of the item itself.
Costume Throw Blankets
I suppose we could make an argument for the utility of these Costume Comfy Throws (price $19.95 USD from Amazon.com). They will help keep you warm. You can impersonate Bilbo Baggins or Gandalf the Grey while you keep toasty inside the fleece wrap. For the hobbit-minded, the built-in sleeves are particularly handy when it comes to tucking in your six daily meals. In my household, I’ve already called “dibs” on the Bilbo style.
Kitchen Decor and Related Items
What better adornment for your kitchen table than a dueling wizard salt and pepper set? This dynamic pair is one of many wonderful LOTR-themed items from Westland Giftware. If wizards aren’t your style, there are other selections, such as Samwise and Gollum. The salt and pepper sets are available from several sources, including Amazon.com, and range in price from $15 USD to $18 USD. Westland Giftware also makes LOTR night lights, tin totes, and cookie jars. I’m hoping they might add some Hobbit characters to their offerings. If there were ever a character that should be immortalized as a cookie jar, it’s Dwalin.
Funko Pop Vinyl Figures
These vinyl figures are incredibly cute. Coming in at a little under 4 inches tall, the figures are available from a number of retailers, including Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble in the USA (price around $10 USD), and Forbidden Planet International in the UK (price around £9). Besides the adorable Thorin Oakenshield shown above, you can choose Gandalf, Legolas, Azog, or an Invisible Bilbo Baggins complete with newly-named Sting in hand. No matter which one you choose, he will steal your heart along with your shelf space.
To my way of thinking, the Pez dispenser may be the ultimate mathom: a candy that is more about the dispenser than the candy. To be fair, one cannot deny the staying power of Pez candies and those iconic dispensers. They have been around for many years, and seem positioned to flourish for many more. Luckily for the Tolkien-inclined collectors, there are special sets of Pez dispensers with both LOTR and Hobbit themes. There is even a much-coveted “Eye of Sauron” dispenser! The sets are available from several vendors, such as Amazon.com, priced at around $20-$25 USD. You can also find sets and individual dispensers for sale on the secondary market on auction sites such as eBay.com, at varying prices.
I have presented a brief, and admittedly biased, look at some of the charmingly useless delights that await the attentive mathom-keeper. I treasure my mathoms, and am unlikely to give any away as presents on my birthday. I hope you find the perfect mathoms to lift your heart and tickle your fancy. Happy hunting!