How To Sell A First Folio

You may have heard by now that a First Folio recently sold at auction for $10 million. I saw at least one post that said, “If you’ve got that much money, how about donating a million dollars to 10 theatres?” I see the point.

I’ve got an idea for how to make money from a First Folio. Whenever something physically big needs to be sold, what do they do? A building or something. Do they say “Hey, anybody want this building? Million bucks.” No, they break it into pieces and sell those. I’m from Boston, and the “Cheers” bar recently went through this when it closed. Could you buy the whole bar? No. But you could buy the glasses. And the stools. And the signs. And so on. So now there’s hundreds of Cheers fans around the country who can point to a collector’s item and say “Like that stool? That’s from Cheers.”

So you see where I’m going with this. I still kind of feel like it’s sacrilege to even suggest it, but take a First Folio and sell it one page at a time. How much you think we could get? There’s only so many people in the world with $10 million. And then what do they do with it? Sometimes it just goes into a private collection, never to be seen again. Sometimes, best case, it goes on display somewhere so you have to travel to see it, if you’re lucky because it’s only on display sometimes.

But there’s plenty of people willing to drop a few thousand dollars on an important collector’s item. And then there’s hundreds of households all around the world with a framed piece of Shakespeare on their wall for people to admire and ask about and learn about.

I know it’s a silly idea, you don’t destroy a copy of a book when there’s only a few hundred copies of that book in existence. Besides, the math doesn’t work. At around 900 pages you’d still need to average over $10k per page to approach that $10 million mark.

Just daydreaming, I guess.

One thought on “How To Sell A First Folio

  1. More than 200 copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio have survived, so it’s not such a big rarity. But I never heard how many copies of the first editions (1530s) of Rabelais’ novel “Gargantua and Pantagruel” survived. I think only a few (or none at all).

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