The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0652 Thursday, 13 July 2006
From: Hardy M. Cook <
Date: Thursday, July 13, 2006
Subject: First Folio Sold
Shakespeare Volume Fetches $4.6 Million at London Auction
July 13 (Bloomberg) -- A volume of Shakespeare's plays, among the
best-known books after the Bible and the Koran, fetched 2.5 million
pounds ($4.6 million), or the low estimate, at a London auction today.
The bidder in the saleroom at Sotheby's Holdings Inc. on New Bond Street
said he was acting for London rare-book dealer Simon Finch. The seller
was Dr. Williams's Library in London, which said it needed money to
survive and preserve its research collections.
The collection of 36 plays, known as the First Folio, was published in
1623 after Shakespeare's death in an edition of 750, and probably sold
for 20 shillings, said Sotheby's. Few complete copies survive, and the
auction house had valued the library's folio at as much as 3.5 million
pounds, or about $6.1 million, above the record for such an edition.
The nearest comparable First Folio sold in New York in 2001 for a hammer
price of $5.6 million, said Sotheby's.
Shakespeare, who died in 1616, may be the world's most frequently
performed dramatist, drawing audiences from Africa to China. At least 58
films have been inspired by ''Hamlet,'' according to the Web site
Only about 250 copies of the First Folio survive, and this one still has
its mid 17th-century calf binding. There may be only one similar copy
left in private hands, said Sotheby's, which holds sales of English
literature twice a year.
Dr. Williams's library was established in the early 18th century under
the will of Dr. Daniel Williams, and is the most important research
library for English Protestant dissent, Sotheby's said.
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