Shakespeare’s First Folio sells for £7.6m

The book was sold in New York.
The book was sold in New York.

William Shakespeare’s First Folio has been sold for 9.98 million dollars (£7.66 million) at auction.

The book, printed in 1623, is thought to be one of the first collections of the writer’s plays.

Only six copies of the First Folio are known to be privately owned.

(Christie’s Images Ltd/PA)

The book was sold in New York by Christie’s auction house, which said the sale set a new record for any work of literature.

It was published by Shakespeare’s friends John Heminge and Henry Condell following his death in 1616, Christie’s said.

The collection includes Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Measure For Measure and Julius Caesar.

Margaret Ford, Christie’s international head of group, books and manuscripts, said: “Christie’s is delighted to have established a new world auction record not only for a work by William Shakespeare, but for any work of literature.

“It is befitting that William Shakespeare’s First Folio, printed in 1623, holds this remarkable record, given its tremendous significance and influence around the globe.”

(Christie’s Images Ltd/PA)

The book was bought by Stephan Loewentheil via a phone bid.

He said: “William Shakespeare is incomparably the greatest writer in the English language and one of the most important international cultural influencers in all history.

“The First Folio is the most important collection of plays ever published and revered throughout the world.

“It is an honour to purchase one of only a handful of complete copies of this epochal volume.

“It will ultimately serve as a centrepiece of a great collection of intellectual achievements of man.”