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Shakespeare Auction Flops

December 11, 1997

LONDON (AP) _ William Shakespeare’s deed for land outside Stratford-upon-Avon was pulled from a Sotheby’s auction today after it failed to draw a minimum bid.

No one met the minimum asking price of $412,500, the auction house said.

The deed was one of only 13 known documents relating directly to the Bard’s personal life. Sotheby’s says the other 12 are owned by public institutions in Britain and the United States.

The deed stems from Shakespeare’s purchase in 1602 of 107 acres of land near his hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon. He paid 320 pounds _ the equivalent of $530 today, but a lot of money in those days.

After Shakespeare’s death in 1616, the deed remained in his family’s hands for 200 years. It then was bought by the Earl of Warwick, whose family collected important documents.

Trustees of the current earl’s estate had not yet decided whether to try again to sell the deed, Sotheby’s said.

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