One of the best sellers on May 4 at Swann Galleries (25/20/12% buyer’s premium), with a winning bid of $150,000 (£119,330) that doubled the high estimate, was one that presented the complete texts of King Lear, Othello and Anthony & Cleopatra.
Extracted from a First Folio of 1623, they were bound in dark blue morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, along with a couple of facsimile leaves presenting a note ‘To the Reader’ and a catalogue of the plays.
This was just one of a very large number of early quarto editions from the extensive collections of Ken Rappoport, led at $65,000 (£51,710) by a copy of the 1634, first and only quarto edition of The Two Noble Kinsmen.
Although not included in the traditional canon of Shakespeare’s plays because it did not appear among the folios, the play was a seemingly equal collaboration between Shakespeare and John Fletcher that had been completed in c.1613.
The only separate edition of the play printed in the 17th century, this copy, later bound in full brown morocco by Bedford, was formerly in the Rosenbach Collection.
Bid to $26,000 (£20,685) was a first quarto edition of John Ford’s play about a mutually infatuated brother and sister, Tis Pitty Shee’s a Whore, while one of the earliest lots was a 1617 edition of Thomas Heywood’s A Woman Kilde with Kindnesse, which sold at $19,000 (£15,115).
The title-page of the latter defines it as a third edition, but no second edition has been traced and the first edition of 1607 is known only from a copy now in the British Library.