Shakespeare First Folio sold for record $10 million

William Shakespeare's first collection of plays sold for record $10 million

An employee of Christie's auctions holds a 1663 rare first folio of 36 Shakespeare works that was sold for a record 8.4 million dollars (9.978 million with buyers fee) is seen in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York. Credit: Reuters

A copy of the first collection of plays by William Shakespeare was sold Wednesday for $9.97 million at auction in New York, setting a new record for a work of literature.

The price paid for the work, widely known as the First Folio exceeded by far the estimated range of $4-6 million set by Christie's, which held the auction.

The collection, printed in 1623 and containing 36 plays by the English master, is frequently described as the greatest literary work in the English language.

It was published after the death of the Bard, who lived from 1564 until 1616, and was compiled by two of his friends, John Heminge and Henry Condell.

It contains major works which would probably have been lost were it not the collection, including Macbeth and Twelfth Night.

Several books have brought in higher prices, such as the Codex Leicester of Leonardo De Vinci, which Bill Gates bought for $30.8 million in 1994.

But none is a literary work of fiction.