This copy is one of the fourteen perfect ones according to Lee’s 1902 Census. It was once part of A. Edward Newton’s famous collection together with Thomas Hardy’s manuscript of his novel Far from the Madding Crowd. The history of the successive sales of this copy is a good example of how the First Folio took on value throughout the years. The earliest known owner of this copy is George Smith. His copy was first sold to J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps in 1867 for £410. In 1869, Halliwell-Phillipps sold his volume to Frederic Ouvry for £350. In 1882, Bernard Quaritch acquired the volume for £420 when Ouvry’s library was sold and he sold it in 1888 to William Proby, 5th Earl of Carysfort, for £880. In 1923, his library was sold to Quaritch for £6,100 and, only four years later, to the New York bookseller Gabriel Wells for £10,000. Newton purchased it from Wells for £12,000. In 1941, Newton’s Folio was sold for $22,000. The volume passed on to Louis M. Rabinowitz in 1950 who purchased it for $20,000 to complete his set of all four Folios. In 1960, The University of Cologne acquired this copy together with the three other Folios and the 1640 Poems for nearly £36,000.
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