The regular 2001 album originally priced between $15 to $17 in
the stores is the regular U.S. release. The 2001 limited release is indicated
by a higher price and a sticker indicating its "limited" nature on the
front plastic, along with an optional version that comes enclosed in a faux red
leather case. The musical contents are the same on both 2001 products. The
value of the different cover inserts (on the trading block) is yet to be
determined. They could very well end up useless unless you acquire a
whole set of 4+ covers.
The 2003 trilogy set is essentially the original three
albums from the films combined into one package (with no extra music). The
2005 set includes the complete recordings, priced initially for between $50 and
$60, and features the DVD with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound along with
three CDs that offer 180 minutes from the score in 16-bit stereo sound. Other
higher resolution variants on sound quality exist on the DVD. (See review for
The 2010 Howe Records album called "The Rarities Archive" was only available
in the back cover of the Doug Adams book The Music of The Lord of the Rings
Films: A Comprehensive Account of Howard Shore's Scores. That book had an
MSRP of $60 but initially sold new for under $40.
The 2018 complete set is a re-issue of the 2005 product but with a Blu-ray
disc rather than a DVD for the surround sound option. It debuted for $80 and
remained in print longer than the two sequel set re-issues, retailing for less
than $60 by 2020.