Thursday, July 13, 2006

Almost as much as an orchestra seat to Aida

Shakespeare First Folio fetches 2.8 mln pounds

A rare mint condition First Folio edition of William Shakespeare's plays fetched 2.8 million pounds at an auction on Thursday.

The result at Sotheby's in London was below the top estimate of 3.5 million pounds and less than the saleroom record for a comparable copy of $6.2 million made at Christie's, New York, in 2001.

Several copies of the First Folio have also been sold privately, including that purchased by John Paul Getty from Oriel College, Oxford, for an estimated 3.5 million pounds. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen bought another, according to media reports.

Printed in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death and containing 36 plays, only about 250 copies of the First Folio survive and most of those are incomplete.

The volume up for sale on Thursday has been in the Dr. William's Library -- a research facility for English Protestant dissent -- since about 1716, making it the longest uninterrupted ownership by a public library of any copy.

I'm going to pick up a copy for my personal library right after I convince Gates to sell me the Codex.


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