The Unbearable Banishment: $200,000-$300,000

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Family, friends and long-time readers know that I am a low-level rare book dealer. I collect, buy and sell rare 20th century literature. It's just a hobby.

[Actually, what ends up happening is that I’ll buy a book if I think it’s under priced with the intention of flipping it to a legitimate rare book dealer but once I get the book in my hands, I can rarely part with it. I could never make a living this way.]

On Monday, February 8th at Pacific Book Auctions in San Francisco, you can pick up a second folio edition of William Shakespeare’s Works.

This truly is a landmark of literature. The first folio of these plays was published back in 1623 and tonight, in New York City, there is one major and two minor Shakespeare productions being performed. That’s what I call real staying power. You also have to take into consideration all the works that have been influenced by The Bard. Disney’s The Lion King? Hamlet. West Side Story? Romeo and Juliet. Etc., etc.

This second folio is a page-for-page reprint of the first folio, which is considered the only reliable text for many of Shakespeare’s plays. It’s one of the most valuable books ever printed. If you think a second folio will set you back (see post title for auction estimate), consider that a first folio sold at Sotheby’s in July of 2006 for £2.5 million. Ouch.


Blogger Tess Kincaid said...

I don't think I'd be able to part with my finds, either. I am a hopeless bibliophile. I love the scent of the pages, the feel of the cover in my hands. Sigh.

January 28, 2010 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Poindexter said...

what an amazing hobby! I am fortunate enough to have a tiny collection of autographed books, some of historical significance. I fret about this because I keep them in a closed cupboard so that they will not suffer from dust or sun damage. As a result, I never lay my eyes on these treasures. seems a waste, but I don't know what to do. How do you store your collection?

January 28, 2010 at 11:27 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Willow: I've been trying to take a more Buddhist outlook on life an not be so attached to material things, but when it comes to books I have all the emotional maturity of a needy 7-year old.

Point: I have bookshelves with glass doors for the valuable stuff to protect them from airborne particles but I don't carry any insurance on them. I like living on the razor's edge.

January 28, 2010 at 3:00 PM  
Blogger St Jude said...

Something of an achievement considering he was considered in the same light as the 'soap writers' of today. For myself I collect paintings as opposed to books.

January 28, 2010 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger St Jude said...

Sorry I should explain, I do love books and especially older editions, and I also love Shakespeare, I spent many happy hours performing his plays. I wasn't meaning to appear flippant. I'll shut up now shall I!

January 28, 2010 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger A Free Man said...

Don't forget The Taming of the Shrew - Ten Things I Hate About You. Classic.


January 29, 2010 at 6:54 AM  

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