Rare Shakespeare 'First Folio' found on Scottish island

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A first edition of Shakespeare's First Folio has been found in Scotland

LONDON — A rare copy of William Shakespeare's First Folio, published in 1623, has been found on a Scottish island.

The book, which is a collection of 36 plays, has been confirmed as genuine by the Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Oxford University, Emma Smith.

The find was made in the stately home of Mount Stuart House on the island of Bute, and it brings the number of known copies to 234.

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Rare Shakespeare 'First Folio' found on Scottish island
A Shakespeare First Folio discovered nearly 400 years after his death is displayed at Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, Scotland, Britain April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
A Shakespeare First Folio discovered nearly 400 years after his death is displayed at Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, Scotland, Britain April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
A visitors looks at a Shakespeare First Folio discovered nearly 400 years after his death as it is displayed at Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, Scotland, Britain April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
A Shakespeare First Folio discovered nearly 400 years after his death is displayed at Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, Scotland, Britain April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Daffodils are in bloom at Mount Stuart where a Shakespeare First Folio has been discovered nearly 400 years after his death on the Isle of Bute, Scotland, Britain April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
The Isle of Bute is seen from the Cal-Mac ferry , Scotland, Britain April 7, 2016. A Shakespeare First Folio has been discovered nearly 400 years after his death at Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Daffodils are in bloom at Mount Stuart where a Shakespeare First Folio has been discovered nearly 400 years after his death on the Isle of Bute, Scotland, Britain April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
A Shakespeare First Folio discovered nearly 400 years after his death is displayed at Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, Scotland, Britain April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Light comes through stained glass windows at Mount Stuart where a Shakespeare First Folio has been discovered nearly 400 years after his death, on the Isle of Bute, Scotland, Britain April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
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Previous copies of the book have fetched good prices; a copy owned by Oriel College, Oxford sold for £2.5 million ($3.5 million) in 2003, while a second sold for £2.8 million ($3.9 million) in 2006, according to BBC News.

The copy of the folio, which contains plays like Macbeth and The Tempest, belonged to a literary agent Issac Reed, who worked in London in the 18th century.

"A letter from Reed shows that he acquired the Folio in 1786 and further records indicate it was sold after Reed's death in 1807 to a 'JW' for £38 – an absolute bargain," Mount Stuart House says in a post about the book.

After that sale there are no further public records of the folio.

"The Folio also includes annotations and notes from Reed which indicate its significance as a working document that went towards creating the Shakespeare we know and love."

This copy is in three volumes: comedies, histories and tragedies, according to Professor Smith.

"In 1932 the volumes were rebound by William Pender in goatskin, apparently to match the other three seventeenth-century Bute Folios," she writes.

Mount Stuart House, a listed building in the Gothic Revival style, is located on the Island of Bute in the Firth of Clyde.

The folio went on display in the stately home on Thursday as part of an exhibition that coincides with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

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