Christie's sells rare Shakespeare First Folio for $9m
A rare 1623 book that brought together William Shakespeare’s plays for the first time sold for a record $9.97 million at an auction on Wednesday, Christie’s in New York said.
The First Folio containing 36 of Shakespeare’s plays is one of only six known complete copies in private hands and had carried a pre-sale estimate of $4 million to $6 million.
The book was bought by American private collector Stephan Loewentheil, founder of the 19th Century Rare Book and Photograph Shop on the US east coast.
Wednesday’s auction price also marked a new world auction record for any printed work of literature, and smashed the previous high of $6.16 million for a Shakespeare First Folio that was set in 2001, Christie's said.
Comedies, Histories and Tragedies was compiled by friends of the English playwright and poet seven years after his death. It includes 18 plays that had never been published before and might have been lost, including Macbeth and Julius Caesar.
The book was put up for auction by Mills College, a private liberal arts college in Oakland, California.
The First Folio marked the first time that Shakespeare’s plays had been organised as comedies, tragedies and histories.
Without the First Folio some of Shakespeare’s most famous lines would have been lost, including classics like “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,” from Julius Caesar.