In partnership with the American Library Association, the Folger looked for applicants who could provide creative public programs, support from local scholars and community organizations, and appropriate security. (When a First Folio comes up for auction, which rarely happens, it sells for more than $5 million.) All in all, the Folger’s First Folios will stop at 23 museums, 20 universities, five public libraries, three historical societies and one theater.
The First Folio, published in 1623 by two of the playwright’s colleagues, is so important because it’s the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays. It contains 36 scripts and is the original source for such immortal works as “Macbeth,” “Julius Caesar,” “Twelfth Night” and “The Tempest.” Of the 750 copies believed to have been originally published, 233 survive today, and the Folger owns 82.
A Reno date with the Bard’s manuscript hasn’t been set.