William Shakespeare Third Folio to star at Christie's Important Printed Books

The Third Folio of William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories and Tragedies is to star as top lot in Christie's Important Printed Books sale on May 18.


The Third Folio of William Shakespeares plays
The Third Folio of William Shakespeare's plays


The sale will feature the library of philanthropist Albert H Small, with the Shakespeare folio expected to draw the greatest attention.

The work, which is the second issue of the Third Folio, is noted for containing seven added plays, of which only one can actually be attributed to The Bard. The play in question is Pericles, Prince of Tyre which was one of the two original Shakespeare works not included in the First Folio of 1623.

A reprint of the Second Folio, the work was first published in 1664 by Philip Chetwinde. The Third Folio is considered particularly rare compared to the previous issues as unsold copies are believed to have been destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

The exquisite copy will sell for $350,000-500,000 at Christie's New York showroom. The sale will be followed by a copy of the third edition of the Second Folio, estimated at $250,000-350,000.

Also featuring in the sale will be The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, originally published in 1896. The superb book features the original publisher's binding from white pigskin over oak boards. Engraved with a William Morris design, the issue contains 87 large woodcut illustrations after pencil designs by Edward Burne-Jones.

This elaborate tome is one of only 50 copies commissioned in the special binding, prompting an estimate of $120,000-180,000.

The manuscripts section of the sale is to see a Peter Force copy of the 1776 United States Declaration of Independence sell for $35,000-45,000. Paul Fraser Collectibles is very pleased to offer a similar Peter Force Declaration to collectors unable to attend the auction. Our copy, a fantastic rice paper reproduction, originates from the W J Stone printing in 1848.



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