Rare 1623 Shakespeare book to be sold

March 30, 2006 at 9:40 PM
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LONDON, March 30 (UPI) -- A rare book of Shakespeare's plays published in 1623 is expected to fetch at least 3 million pounds ($5.2 million) at a London auction.

Of the 750 editions printed back then, only about one-third are still around -- and most are incomplete, the BBC said Thursday.

Dr. Williams's Theological Library in London is looking to the sale of its valuable property to secure its financial future, the BBC said.

"Its sale will secure the finances of the library and safeguard our important historical collections of manuscripts and printed books for future generations," Library Director David Wykes said.

The rare compilation of 36 plays was put together seven years after the bard's death, and was believed to be the first printing of "Twelfth Night" and "Macbeth." Historians say the plays probably would have been lost had they not been included.

The leather-bound book will take a world tour and be on display at Sotheby's offices in London, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Beijing and Hong Kong prior to the July 13 auction.

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