First Folio by William Shakespeare (worth $5.2 million)Jerome FavreEpaREX/Shutterstock
Originally titled Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, the First Folio is a collection of 23 plays by William Shakespeare, including The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, and Romeo and Juliet. It was first printed in 1623, seven years after the iconic playwright’s death, and is considered the reason why his work lives on to this day. Without it, Shakespeare’s plays might have been lost forever, and we’d never have these nifty vocabulary words you probably didn’t know were inspired by Shakespeare.
In 2006, First Folio sold at auction for $5.2 million (about $6.3 million today) at Sotheby’s in New York.
In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway (worth $321,600)1941260r-Bournemouth NewsREX/Shutterstock
In 1924, French publishers Three Mountains Press released In Our Time, a collection of short stories by Ernest Hemingway. Only 300 copies were printed during its initial run. However, due to a printing mistake, only 170 of those copies were released and sold. The frontispiece is a woodcut portrait of Hemingway, which bled through the next page during printing. The remaining 130 copies were given away to friends and family and as review copies. Hemingway famously wrote, “In order to write about life you must first live it.” Check out these other inspirational Ernest Hemingway quotes.
Due to its very limited numbers, In Our Time is considered rare for book collectors around the world. In April 2004, a first edition copy sold at auction for a whopping $321,600 at Sotheby’s New York.