Saturday 22 July 2017

Treasure trove of historical autographs goes under the hammer

ine Kerr Political Correspondent

THE battered, brown leather cover, simply inscribed with the word 'Album', conceals a hidden treasure trove of rare political autographs.

Some of the first Dail's TDs and the State's founding fathers, Michael Collins, Arthur Griffith and Piaras Béaslaí, appear within the pages of a rare autograph album that dates to the time of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the end of the War of Independence.

Tonight, on the eve of the 31st Dail's first sitting, the book of autographs of some of the country's first TDs will go up for auction.

The autograph of Michael Collins is signed as 'Micheal O'Coileann', while Arthur Griffith's name is signed in Irish and English on January 9, 1922.

Messages such as "Never fear for Ireland for she has soldiers still" and "Tell me with whom you go and I will tell you what you are" appear in the aged but perfectly legible pages.

In an inside inscription, a 'Sean O'R' hands over the book to a 'Sean O'D' on September 16, 1971.

The rare collection is being auctioned by Oliver Usher Auctioneers in Kells, Co Meath, tonight and is likely to fetch up to €2,000. Mr Usher said the vendor had inherited the "very significant" album from a family friend and believed now was the right time to hand it on.

Irish Independent

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