William Shakespeare’s first known printed collection of works sold this week for 2. 4 million

A 400-year-old book printed in 1623, has been sold at Sotheby’s for the rather large sum of $2.4 million early this week. 

William Shakespeare’s first folio of Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, first printed in 1623, containing 36 of the playwright’s masterpieces has sold this week for an unprecedented figure. The folio is considered one of the earliest print runs of Shakespeare’s material that was collated seven years after the bard’s death. 

Including among others, his much-loved comedies, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Nights Dream, and perhaps the best-loved tragedy of them all Romeo and Juliet.

shakespears first folio

It is believed that the manuscripts for popular plays Macbeth and Henry VIII would have been lost without the collection’s publication.

Labelled in the auction listing as “the most important book in English Literature”  around 750 copies of the first folio were originally printed but only 232 have survived.

first folio romeo and juliet The present copy is currently estimated to be one of just 20 remaining in private hands with the rest displayed in museums and libraries across the world.