Seventy volumes of Shakespeare’s work is now on display in London. The show is a survey of that books material life over 4 centuries: how it fared in the marketplace and in the hands of its owners; how copies were damaged and restored; how researchers have study its text; and even how it has been stolen and found. Each copy has a different color; each has different dimensions. Some are boxed, others bound in goatskin.
But once they were nearly identical. Each was printed in 1624, 7 years after Shakespeare’s passing. This exhibit hold 1/3 of the world’s surviving copies of a book. That book is the Shakespeare First Folio. Beginning in 1893, and for the next 36 years, 83 copies were purchased by the library’s founder, Henry Clay Folger. Only 233 such folios still exist anywhere. And since the highest price paid for one was $6.1 million in 2002, the fiscal value getting closer to the worth of the literary riches found within. New York Times
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