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Folger First Folio 71

Detail of printed page showing horizontal printer's ornament above

This First Folio’s first owner, Thomas Longe, bought it for 15 shillings (equivalent to about $180 today) and noted the price on one of the first pages. Centuries later, in 1922, Henry and Emily Folger purchased the “15 shillings” copy for $22,750.

At first, the Folgers thought that this copy was incredibly special: a rare “first issue,” that is, a First Folio printed and sold before the text of the play Troilus and Cressida was added. They badly wanted it. When they discovered that it wasn’t a first issue, Henry Folger negotiated with the dealer Gabriel Wells to lower its price.

Like many First Folios, this copy lacks some of its original leaves. The title page and two other leaves from the First Folio’s introduction are missing and were replaced with leaves from another First Folio. Eight leaves in The Taming of the Shrew, Julius Caesar, and Hamlet also came from other First Folios. Ten pages in the play Cymbeline were supplied from a Second Folio, a later edition of the First Folio; they were counterfeited to look like pages from a First Folio.

See its book binding

Explore its catalog entry

View in the digital image collection

See where it traveled on tour in 2016