A rare copy of William Shakespeare’s Second Folio is being auctioned off … one page at a time.
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The Atlanta Shakespeare Company and Peachstate Historical Consulting Inc. have partnering to host an auction of more than 100 individual leaves drawn from a single, imperfect copy of the Folio, which dates from 1632.
Rare book dealer and Peachstate founder David Frohman purchased the Folio in 2015 and found it to have many imperfections.
“[Previous owners] trimmed the margins very tightly and they actually cut the Folio sheets themselves,” Frohman tells “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes. “They were very aggressive. So really what we ended up with was a book of Second Folio leaves.”
“What I found was that somebody who would write a $300,000 check for a really nice copy of a Second Folio really wasn’t interested,” he says, “but what was happening was everybody else in the world was clamoring for at least a part of it, but didn’t have the budget.”
Frohman says that this is the first time this type of parceling out of a Folio has ever been done, and may never be done again. A number of the leaves will be made available to be lent to schools and other institutions. Other leaves are being auctioned off, with half the proceeds benefiting the American Shakespeare Company.
“A third of what our company does is educational outreach,” says Jeff Watkins, artistic director of ASC. “And we have just created the Shakespeare Academy. Education is central to who we are. So these proceeds will go to support our educational programs and of course the creation of what will probably what will be the largest exhibit of the Second Folio in the Southeast.”
The auction of the leaves from Shakespeare’s Second Folio is happening online through May 7, with a live gala auction taking place May 17 at the New American Shakespeare Tavern. You can find more information, including images of the actual Folio leaves here.