A 400-year-old book known as Shakespeare’s First Folio has been sold in New York for $2.4 million (£2m).
Mr William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Tragedies, published in 1623, contains 36 of the playwright’s masterpieces. It is believed that the manuscripts of the famous plays Macbeth and Henry VIII would have been lost without the collection’s publication.
It was sold at a Sotheby’s auction on Thursday.
Labelled in the auction listing as “the most important book in English Literature”, it was published seven years after the Stratford-upon-Avon writer’s death.
The auctioneer has said that about 750 copies of the first folio were printed, but only 232 remain. Only 20 of the current copy are estimated to be privately owned, the remainder currently on display in museums and libraries worldwide.
John Hemmings and Henry Condell, Shakespeare’s collaborators at the acting company King’s Men, compiled and edited the pieces to preserve half of Bard’s plays.
Of the 39 plays written by Shakespeare, 18 are known for being part of the folio, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, and All Well That Ends Well, Sotheby’s said.