Shakespeare’s First Folio Sells for Almost $10 Million at Auction

By October 16, 2020News

A copy of The Bard’s First Folio, published shortly after his death in 1623 has sold for a whopping, record-breaking $9.98m (£7.6m) at an auction in New York. Around 253 copies of the folio are known to exist, but many are incomplete and are in private collections. One, which sold for a ‘mere’ £3.5 million in 2003, is owned by Oxford.

As the BBC reports, this particular copy was sold yesterday and was expected to fetch between $4 to $6 million, though the final bid smashed these expectations. The last complete edition of this folio was sold in 2001 and held the previous record after it was bought for $6.1m (£4.9m).

This edition was sold by Mills College in Oakland, California, a private college that has owned the rare book since the 1960s. The identity of the winning bidder has not been revealed. The First Folio compiles 38 plays, 18 of which would’ve been lost to history were they not recorded in this edition. Without its existence, we would’ve lost out on the likes of Macbeth, The Tempest, and Julius Caesar.

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