Wednesday 21 August 2019

Rising interest in owning part of the events of 1916

Carmel Dawson and her granddaughter Alannagh McKutcheon take a look at the 1916 Proclamation. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Carmel Dawson and her granddaughter Alannagh McKutcheon take a look at the 1916 Proclamation. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Allison Bray

A hundred-year-old bottle of whiskey, guns, a clock from the GPO and Éamon de Valera's prison diary were among more than 200 mementos of the 1916 Rising that were put up for auction this year.

Ian Whyte, managing director of Whyte's Irish Art and Collectables, said the centenary of the Rising drew huge interest.

Seasoned collectors, historians, librarians and museum curators spent about €500,000 snapping up rare historical items and memorabilia of the pivotal year in Irish history.

"It was a year that really stood out," he told the Irish Independent. "It generated a lot of excitement."

"There are a lot of relics of 1916 that weren't expensive and a lot of people wanted to own a piece of history," he said. A rare copy of the Proclamation - one of approximately 50 printed - was snapped up by an Irish-American collector for a whopping €185,000.

There was also huge interest in a clock from the GPO on O'Connell Street. It had remained relatively unscathed despite the bombardment of the building during the Rising.

It sold for almost three times the guide price for €7,000.

A bottle of Irish whiskey from the now-defunct Dublin Whiskey Distillery on Jones Road - which was bottled in 1916 - was bought by the Irish Whiskey Museum on Grafton Street for the relative "knock-down price" of €15,000.

If decanted, the whiskey would cost about €1,500 a drink - or around €100 a sip depending on the thirst of the drinker.

Irish Independent

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