Monday 11 December 2017

Frenzied bidding at auction of items from 1916

Roger Casement. Photo by Central Press/Getty Images
Roger Casement. Photo by Central Press/Getty Images

Ryan Nugent

A handwritten letter by Roger Casement and a coded message were just some of the 1916 memorabilia that have gone under the hammer.

The auction also included the sale of a silver cigarette box for £1,600 (€2,000).

The auction yesterday took in a total of £14,600 (€18,600).

The collection, auctioned off by Chorley's auction house in England, was passed on by descent from Major Frank Hall of the Ulster Volunteer Force.

Mr Hall is known as being the original 'Q' at MI5, made famous by Ian Fleming's 'James Bond' series.

He was involved in the interrogation of Casement for his trial for high treason and subsequent execution in 1916.

The interrogation, which took place on Easter Sunday 1916, saw Casement reveal where he had hidden a cache on landing and drew a map for his interrogators.

The map led to the British retrieving pistols, binoculars, gold and silver.

The map had been expected to be sold for between £1,000 (€1,250) and £2,000 (€2,500), but went under the hammer for more than triple that, at £7,000 (€8,850).

Meanwhile, the telegram in code, which also includes an assortment of letters, also went for far higher than expected at £6,000 (€7,600).

The coded message had been intended for America, where Home Rule was widely supported among the Irish communities there.

There was frenzied bidding for the items online, following on from viewings for the items which took place on Sunday and Monday.

Director of the auction, Thomas Jenner-Fust said that with the commemorations for the Rising taking place over the next week, the auction was held at just the right time to spike interest.

"The timing of Chorley's sale could not have been better to sell the documents, letters and plans relating to the 1916 Easter Rising coinciding with all the publicity surrounding the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising," Mr Jenner-Fust said.

Irish Independent

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