Christie’s commemorates 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) with a landmark sale of the first four folios, the first four editions of his collected works. The Folios will be offered in a four-lot auction celebrating the Shakespeare anniversary in London on Wednesday 25 May 2016. The sale is led by an unrecorded copy of the First Folio, the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, widely considered the most important literary publication in the English language.
The First Folio contains 36 plays, 18 of which had not previously been printed and would have otherwise been lost forever (estimate: £800,000-1.2 million, illustrated above). The plays of Shakespeare, preserved for posterity in these volumes, define our knowledge of Shakespeare the man, the playwright, the poet and the actor.
The Four Folios will tour to New York from 1 to 8 April and go on public display in London from 20 to 28 April to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary on 23 April; later being exhibited in the pre-sale view in May.
The pre-sale exhibitions and auction provide a unique opportunity to view the complete set of Folios and experience first-hand the excitement arising from proximity to the earliest editions of the greatest playwright in history. The sale is expected to realise in excess of £1.3 million.