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Shakespeare’s first folio to go under the hammer is set to fetch $2.5 million

An original copy of William Shakespeare’s First Folio, the first published collection of his plays, is set to go up for auction next month in New York at Sotheby’s. It is often considered the most important book in English literature. Reports suggest the First Folio is expected to fetch $2.5 million at auction.

The First Folio was published in 1623, almost seven years after Shakespeare’s death. It is a collection of 36 pieces written by him. It is understood that in the absence of the First Folio, some of his most famous works would have been lost.

Eighteen of the pieces from the first folio are said to not have been known to have been printed before, such as “The Tempest”, “Twelfth Night” and “Measure for Measure” and more.

According to Sotheby’s, of the 750 copies, only less than a third are still accounted for. The auction house added that less than 20 are privately owned.

As quoted by the media, Scholar and Director of Book Departments Gabriel Heaton said: “Shakespeare First Folio is without doubt the most important publication in the history of English literature.”

“Without this book, no Macbeth, no Twelfth Night, no Winter’s Tale. About half of Shakespeare’s plays were first published in this volume,” Heaton added.

Richard Austin, Global Head of Books and Manuscripts at Sotheby’s, said: “The appearance of a Shakespeare First Folio on the market is always a major event, with so few copies remaining in private hands.

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Post expires at 3:13pm on Monday June 20th, 2022

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