William Shakespeare's First Folio beats estimate by 50%

A rare copy of William Shakespeare's First Folio led a dedicated auction at Christie's.

The auction house offered up a copy of each of the four folios to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death - the first time all four have been sold in the same auction.

Shakespeare first folio
Only around 233 copies of Shakespeare's first folio survive

The lot made £1.8m ($2.7m), beating an estimate of £1.2m ($1.7m) by 50%.

The first folio is the rarest of the four and was printed in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare's death.

Only around 233 exist, the vast majority of which remain in private collections and rarely appear on the market.

Christie's sold one exceptional copy for a record £3.7m ($6.6m) in 2001.

Bidders also snapped up the other printings.

The rare third folio sold for £362,500 ($524,900), the second for £194,500 ($281,636) and the fourth made £47,500 ($68,750).

In total the sale brought in £2.4m ($3.5m).

Margaret Ford, Christie's head of books & manuscripts, explained prior to the sale: "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."

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