All four Shakespeare folios to star in dedicated auction

Christie's will offer examples of all four of Shakespeare's folios in a dedicated auction in London on May 25.

The first folio is the rarest of the lot, with an estimate of £800,000-1.2m ($1.1m-1.7m).

Shakespeare first folio
This is a previously unrecorded copy of the first folio

Published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare died, it's the first compendium of his plays released to the public.

Around 233 are known to have survived to the present day, most of which are held in museum collections. 

One sold for a world record £3.7m ($6.6m) at Christie's in 2001.

The fact that this specimen has only recently come to light, and is one of very few on the market, is likely to ensure strong bidding.

The second, third and fourth folios will also be offered, with estimates ranging from £20,000 ($28,706) for the fourth folio to £400,000 ($574,120) for the second.

This is the first time all four folios have been offered together at auction. The sale will take place to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.  

Margaret Ford, Christie's head of books & manuscripts, comments: "The universality and timelessness of Shakespeare's insight into human nature continues to engage and enthrall audiences the world over.

"Even four centuries after his death, his plays touch and transform lives and continue to be read and performed from Albania to Zambia.

"It is deeply moving to handle the first printed record of his collected plays and to be reminded of their tremendous impact.

"Especially exhilarating is bringing a newly recorded copy of the First Folio to public attention, and to be able to offer a set of the Four Folios in this important anniversary year."

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