The bibliographical scholar, A. W. Pollard, has written:
In the [First] Folio of 1623 and the quartos by which it was preceded we have the only documents which can pretend to any original authority for the formation of Shakespeare's text. The subsequent quartos are of little or no interest save as showing the hold upon the reading public exercised by certain plays.
The [Second, Third and Fourth] Folios are in a different position. To the student of the history of Shakespeare's text they are indispensable. No [17th century] scholar was called in to edit any one of them. The actual editors of the successive Folios [were] probably in each case the printer's ordinary corrector of the press.
We must not claim too much for these printer-editors. It cannot be said that they rose to the height of their opportunities, either in purging Shakespeare's text of obvious errors or in providing the British public with attractive editions likely to win for him fresh readers. But with all their lack of enterprise the [four large folios] show they were confronted by a greater demand than existed for the works of any other Elizabethan playwright.
The First Folio Edition of the Plays. 1623
The Second Folio. 1632
The Third Folio. 1663/1664
The Fourth Folio. 1685
Richard the Second. 1608
The Pavier Quartos. 1619
Pavier Quartos Binding.
Assorted quarto editions. Post 1623
The Poems. 1640
Francis Bacon. The Advancement of Learning. 1605
Jean Froissart. Cronicles of England, France, Spain. 1523-1525
Geoffrey Chaucer. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer: Newly printed. 1545
A Mirror for Magistrates. 1610
Charles [and Mary] Lamb. Tales from Shakespeare. 1807.
North’s Plutarch. 1579.