The Second Folio, that is, the second edition, first issue, of the collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, set page-for-page from a corrected copy of the First Folio, 1623, edited by John Heminge (d. 1630) and Henry Condell (d. 1627) can now be purchased for £275,000 ($348,850). This is the edition of which William Prynne complained that it was printed on best crown paper.
It is estimated that the original edition was of 1,000 copies, shared between the five publishers listed in the colophon, all of whom were proprietors of rights to one or more of the plays. This copy is one of those printed for Robert Allot, who took the lion’s share. The book is also notable for containing “An Epitaph on the admirable Dramaticke Poet, W. Shakespeare” by John Milton, printed on the Effigies leaf, the first of his English-language poems to be printed.
As shown by William Todd, only the true first issue was published in 1632. The imprint of this copy is Todd’s state Ia; the page with Milton’s verse (i.e., the inner forme of the same sheet) is his state Ib, corrected to read ”Comicke” ”Laugh” and ”passions” with ligatured double-s.
In 1641 and later, remainder sheets were sold with this sheet (A2.5) in two distinct re-settings.
An engraved portrait of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout can be found on the title-page.
The edition can be purchased from the Peter Harrington website or abebooks.com