Posted on April 26, 2023 at 10:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

A rare-books dealer was able to collect copies of the first four editions of William Shakespeare’s works, plus a poetry collection, and list them for a combined $10.5 million.

To give you an idea of how incredibly uncommon this is, a Shakespeare expert from the University of Oxford had never seen copies of the four play collections open in the same place at the same time, says NPR.

The first copy is, of course, the most important one; known as the First Folio, it ensured that the Bard's work survived his generation — without it, half of his plays would've been lost to history.

That's why it comprises the value of the auction lot: $7.5 million on its own.

All Things Considered's Ailsa Chang recently spoke with the expert from Oxford about what makes the First Folio in general (and this copy specifically) so special; you can listen to their conversation on NPR or read a transcript.

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