London: Printed for H. Herringman, E. Brewster, and R. Bentley, at the Anchor in the New Exchange, The Crane in St. Paul's Church-Yard, and in Russel-Street Covent-Garden, London. 1685. Full morocco. 4th folio, 1st issue, of Shakespeare's complete plays, the paramount work in all of English literature. Fine 19th century full blind-tooled morocco, gilt titled, gilt edges, satisfying condition by any standard, with no repair, a nicely executed, beautiful and distinctive antique, but here's your scrupulously dissected examination: Portrait, title page and 25 other leaves lightly stained, minor chips and short tears to some blank margins (and only the blank margins), a dozen tiny pin holes (mostly rust), Ccc6 with the margin slightly miscut by 1/16" at 2 corners, a paper flaw just under the upper rule of Ii2, but don't be distracted. This is (withal) a complete and perfect folio, tall (14 1/16"), wide (8 15/16"), and read the next sentence with attention, because you won't read it often. Far beyond the usual, every single page, and every single letter of text is present and valid, with no facsimile. That means there are no holes creating any missing letters, and (even more remarkably) no (zero) leaves have been remargined or extended, meaning no leaves were supplied from another copy so our 4th folio is complete as issued. The provenance is soothing. Ex-Elizabeth Young, the initial owner, with her ink signature to the title page, a few letters of her signature are rusted. Ex-Thomas Jefferson McKee (bookplate) sold at his auction (Anderson's, NY, April 30, 1901, lot 2602), and the McKee sale was a spectacular one, featuring rarities that have become impossibilities (for example, he had 529 English quarto plays printed before 1700). And that connects this folio to a strictly applied quality standard that was high 120 years ago, being once a part of the greatest American library auctioned up until that time. Near fine. Item #4
Collation: O2, A4, A-Y6, Z4, BB-ZZ6, *AAA-DDD6, EEE8, AAA-ZZZ6, AAAA-BBBB6, CCCC2, 458 leaves with the usual mispaginations. References: Wing S 2915. Greg III 1119. Bartlett 123. Pforzheimer 910. Jaggard 497.