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Shakespeare’s First Folio original copy sells for $2.5 million at auction.

One of the most significant publications in the history of English literature, the First Folio, was put up for an auction and sold to a private collector for more than $2.5 million on Thursday, July 21 in New York.

Shakespeare, a famous English playwright, has produced a collection of his plays called The First Folio. Shakespeare’s plays were never originally written down, therefore it was only seven years after his death in 1623 that they were finally made available to the public.

Shakespeare’s acting company companions John Heminge and Henry Condell had put together the book. The pair had painstakingly assembled the book by comparing prompt books, working draughts, and authorial fair copy; making it as accurate as possible.

Later, they divided the book and plays into ‘comedies,’ ‘tragedies,’ and ‘histories,’ making it possible for future generations to read Shakespeare’s works in more sophisticated ways. The First Folio has only been printed in 750 copies. However, as of right now, only 220 of these are confirmed.

According to some academics, 18 of the plays in the First Folio, including ‘The Tempest,’ ‘Twelfth Night,’ ‘Measure for Measure,’ and others, are not known to have been printed before.

If the book was not collated, iconic dialogues such as, ‘If music be the food of love, play on,’ from ‘Twelfth Night’ and, ‘Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,’ from Julius Caesar would have been lost forever.

This is not the first time that one of the original copies of the First Folio has been sold. As reported by WION, in 2020, another copy had sold for $9.97 million, smashing the previous high of $6.16 million, set way back in 2001.


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