Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sotheby presents first folio of Shakespeare in Hong Kong

HONG KONG, May 25 (Xinhua) -- The First Folio edition of Shakespeare's plays (1623) which will be offered for sale in Sotheby's sale of English Literature and History in London on July 13 is on view Thursday in Hong Kong.

Estimated to fetch 35 million to 49 million HK dollars, this volume, published seven years after Shakespeare's death, contains a total of 36 plays, 18 of which had never previously been printed, Sotheby's English Literature Specialist and Senior Director Peter Selley said. "Were it not for their appearance in this volume, they might otherwise have been lost to posterity."

Some 750 copies of the Folio were printed and only a third of these survive, mostly incomplete, Selley said. This Folio, owned by Dr. Williams' library, is remarkably untouched in a mid 17th century binding of plain brown calf, and contains extensive markings and annotations.

Such copies very rarely come onto the market and there is only one copy recorded as remaining in private hands, Selley said, adding that it is one of the two finest copies to appear at auction in London since the Second World War, bearing comparison only with the Houghton copy sold in 1980 and now held at Meisei University, Japan.

The Shakespeare First Folio will be exhibited in Hong Kong from May 26 to 27 at Asia World Expo.

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