LONDON, ENGLAND (CBS) — Christie’s auction house announced a rare 1623 book that brought together William Shakespeare’s works for the first time will go up for auction in April.
The auctioneer says the book, called “Comedies, Histories & Tragedies” is expected to sell for between $4 million and $6 million.
Widely known as the First Folio, it is one of only six known complete copies in private hands.
“This copy is the complete copy, that means it has all of its pages, and that’s very unusual in that Shakespeare was read and read and read and so many copies, the vast majority of copies, are imperfect. And this is the first time in a generation that a complete copy has come on the market,” said Magaret Ford, Christie’s Head of Books and Manuscripts.
The First Folio contains Shakespeare’s 36 plays, including several that had never been published before and might have been lost without it, such as “Macbeth”, “The Tempest” and “As You Like It”. It was compiled by friends of the writer after his death.
The copy coming up for sale will be displayed on tour, starting Monday, Jan. 13 in London, before heading to New York, Hong Kong, and Beijing. It will be returned to New York for auction on April 24.
The book is being sold by Mills College, a private liberal arts college in Oakland, California.
The record auction price of a First Folio is nearly $6.2 million, paid in 2001, Christie’s said.