Shakespeare's Third Folio takes centre stage at $374,500

Shakespeare's Third Folio took centre stage at Sotheby's on May 18, in its sale of the Albert H Small Collection.

Shakespeare Third Folio
One of the lucky few to escape the Great Fire of London

Featuring important rare books and Americana from the philanthropist's private collection, the auction realised a total of $2.9m in New York.

Printed by Philip Chetwinde in 1663, the Third Folio of Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories and Tragedies is considered rarer than the Second Folio of 1632, as many of the unsold editions were destroyed in the Great Fire of London.

The work is noted for including seven additional plays from the Second Folio, of which only one can actually been attributed to Shakespeare, Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

Highlighting the perennial worth of the Bard's plays at auction, the collection realised $374,500 against an estimate of $350,000-500,000.

A copy of the First Folio, which was published just seven years after Shakespeare's death in 1623, set a world record for his work when it was sold to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen for $6.1m in 2001.

Paul Fraser Collectibles offers a superb investment portfolio for book collectors, featuring classic works with lasting value.

One of the world's most valuable authors, John James Audubon, also featured with a first edition of Viviparous

Quadrupeds of North America. Featuring 150 exquisite hand-coloured lithographs, the piece achieve a 20.8% increase on its $200,000-300,000 estimate, selling at $362,500.

Audubon's work consistently achieves excellent results at auction, with his Birds of America selling for a record $11.5m at Christie's in 2010.

The Americana section of the sale was highlighted by a George Washington signed letter, congratulating James Madison on his election to the first congress. The letter provided a rare example of Washington writing as president-elect in February 1789, shortly before his inauguration as the first president of the United States.  

The letter, complete with a colour engraving of Washington, made $80,500, up 61% on its estimate of $30,000-50,000.

PFC Auctions is accepting bids on a rare Peter Force Declaration of Independence in its current sale, which closes on 24 May.



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