Here’s a weird little bit of news for you this week. Today, UBC announced that it has acquired one of the world’s most expensive books- a copy of William Shakespeare’s ‘First Folio’, a collection of plays published by his friends and contemporaries seven years after his death.
Now you might be thinking- what? A bunch of plays that he didn’t even publish himself? What could that cost, like a few thousand bucks? Well, friends, that’s exactly what we thought too, until when found out that the last sale price for a copy of the First Folio was a cool $9,980,000 USD. Yeah, we had to pick our jaws up off the floor, too.
— UBC Media Relations (@ubcnews) January 12, 2022
Published in 1623, the First Folio has become one of the most desirable books around the world. There are now only 235 known copies globally, and this is just the second one to come to Canada. The other one, by the way, is located at U of T’s Fisher Library.
Containing 36 of Shakespeare’s 38 plays, the First Folio is considered to be the most authoritative collection of the Bard’s works. So, when folks from the rare and special book collection at UBC heard that one was going up for sale, they acted fast. In fact, it took help from donors across North America, as well as the Department of Canadian Heritage, to get their (white-gloved) hands on it.
And now, UBC has partnered with the Vancouver Art Gallery to show it off! You can head to the Vancouver Art Gallery starting this week to check it out. After all, not many people can say that they’ve seen one of the most expensive books in the world. It’s a weird flex, and it’s exactly up our alley.