Wednesday 28 September 2016

Keys to GPO help auction of Rising artefacts fetch over half a million euro

Ciara Treacy

Published 25/04/2016 | 02:30

The keys from Comdt Brennan-Whitemore, a volunteer in the North King Street area, are estimated to sell for as much as €750.
The keys from Comdt Brennan-Whitemore, a volunteer in the North King Street area, are estimated to sell for as much as €750.

Keys to the GPO, which were found in the ruins after Easter week, provided the biggest surprise in a sale of 1916 artefacts which brought in over half a million euro.

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More than 600 lots were auctioned in the 'Centenary Sale, 1916 Before and After' at the Gresham Hotel on Saturday.

The bundle of four keys had an estimated value of up to €750.

However, they went for €3,400 under the hammer at the weekend, with auctioneer George Fonsie Mealy describing it as "a nice surprise".

"It was a very buoyant and very positive auction," he added.

One of the original copies of the 1916 Proclamation, which hung in the GPO, was sold for €150,000 to a private Irish collector. The document had guaranteed provenance to Dr James Ryan, medical officer to the GPO garrison and a former Fianna Fáil minister.

He is believed to have removed the copy during or immediately before the building's evacuation.

Meanwhile, negotiations with a private client are under way for the 'Moore Street Flag of Truce' - the white linen handkerchief which indicated the volunteers' surrender on April 29, 1916.

The handkerchief, used as a flag of truce by Captain Michael William O'Reilly, had an estimated price of €5,000-€7,000.

Irish Independent

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