Easter Rising Tricolour to fetch €500,000
IT is thought to have been the iconic symbol which signified a new Ireland.
Now the last full-sized Tricolour flag of the 1916 Rising still in existence is to go under the hammer at a New York auction house for an estimated €500,000.
The 94-year-old linen flag -- the first symbol of an independent Republic of Ireland -- is thought to have flown from the top of the rebel headquarters in the GPO in Dublin before it was captured by British forces.
Sergeant Thomas Davis, who served with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, stashed the flag during a clear-up of the city after the Easter Rising.
The flag passed through a number of owners before ending up with a prominent Dublin family who are putting it up for sale in Bloomsbury Auctions in New York on March 23.
The sale of Irish pictures, silver, books and manuscripts is being run alongside Irish auction house Whyte's.
The flag, which measures 75cm high and 160cm wide, is expected to fetch between €363,000 and €509,000 when it goes under the hammer.
Ian Whyte from Whyte's said that while there had been rumours of similar flags from the time, this is the only one that he knows of in existence.
After capturing the flag, Sgt Davis kept it safe before giving it to Dr George St George in thanks for treating his injuries.
A note from Sgt Davis, which is also being auctioned with the flag, reads: "Captured by British Troops at GPO Dublin, April 1916, and given to Dr George St George by an old war veteran, Sergt Davis."
Mr Whyte said he was "not absolutely certain" that the flag was the one which flew on top of the GPO but that he could prove it was from the area.
It is expected there will be strong interest in the flag from both the US and Ireland.
"Any contemporary pennants, favours or armbands with the Tricolour design are extraordinarily scarce with only a few surviving examples of any held in museum collections," a spokesman for Bloomsbury said.