William Shakespeare’s First Folio collection of plays sells for £7.7m

An original copy of William Shakespeare’s First Folio has sold for £7.7m at auction.

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

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

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

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

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.”

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.”

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