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Monday, 10 September, 2001, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Shakespeare work could fetch $3m
Witches from Macbeth
Macbeth is one of the plays in the main folio
A set of rare Shakespeare folios, including one expected to fetch up to $3m (2.04m), are to be auctioned in New York in October.

The first, most valuable, of the four folios to be sold in October is dated 1623 and was the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays.

Shakespeare folio
The folios are known as Comedies, Histories and Tragedies
A couple of actors in Shakespeare's company - John Heminges and Henry Condell - decided to publish the works in honour of the playwright.

A preface to the collection says it is "without ambition either of self-profit or fame, only to keep the memory of so worthy a friend and fellow alive as was our Shakespeare".

The Tempest, Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, Coriolanus, Julius Caesar and Macbeth are included in the collection, grouped by theme.

Among its previous owners are the descendants of the poet John Dryden.

The Second Folio dates from 1632 and comes from the early 18th Century collection of the Earls of Aylesbury.

Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar: Shakespeare's works appear in myriad forms
The value of this work is put at around $150,000 (102,000).

The 1664 Third Folio is a copy of an earlier work in a contemporary binding and that is expected to fetch around $200,000 (136,000).

And the Fourth Folio, estimated at $300,000 (204,500), is said to be the finest copy in existence and bound in gold-tooled black goatskin.

All of the works are part of the collection of a Chicago based book collector, Abel E Berland.

Some 500 titles from Romantic poetry to scientific texts will go under the hammer in New York on 8 and 9 October.

The Shakespeare folios are considered to be "the heart" of the collection, which Berland had always envisaged selling to the next generation.

"I never take them (my books) for granted," Berland remarked in an interview.

"I am nothing more than their temporary custodian."

See also:

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30 Nov 00 | UK
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The actor who would be king
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Monet art sale raises millions
18 May 01 | Arts
Record-smashing art sale
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