02 May “As good luck would have it” (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
A rare and significant find
William Shakespeare´s works have captivated the imaginations of countless people ever since they were first published. This makes the very first edition of the complete works of the famous playwright especially valuable, of which only approximately 230 are known to exist. The Oxford University, a previous owner of one such copy, as sold its First Folio for £3.5 million in 2003.
Only a few days after we published our article on “The most valuable rare books in existence” a professor at the aforementioned university, Emma Smith, has confirmed the authenticity of what most – even herself at first– refused to believe to be genuine. Another copy of the First Folio, the collection of Shakespeare´s complete works. The book´s impact on the literary history of the world can hardly be overstated, which might not appear obvious at first glance. It is solely thanks to this book that we even know of the existence of some of the poets most influential plays such as Macbeth, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and more.
It is surprisingly difficult to verify the authentic nature of such a book, which has to be done thoroughly, since it is minor misspellings and astonishingly accurate reproduction from the 19th century that complicate any and all efforts to uncover the true age.
In this rather peculiar case, this book of momentous relevance has been found on the Isle of Bute in Scotland a stately house, which is where it will be displayed for the time being. The goatskin-bound book has been called “a rare and significant find” by the academics involved in the authentication process. This goes to show, according to Smith, that more First Folios can be expected to be found in Europe in the coming years, whose contents continuously attest to the literary genius of their author.