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Collins letters fetch over €200,000

A COLLECTION of letters written by Michael Collins to his sister while he was in prison sold at auction last night for €202,000, surpassing all expectations.

The guide price set for the correspondence was between €70,000 and €100,000. Most of the 29 letters to Johanna or 'Hannie' were bought by a private Irish collector.

The letters were among over 600 historical items sold at the 'Independence' auction organised by Adam's and Mealy's, which took place at Adam's Auction House, St Stephen's Green, Dublin.

Billed as "the most comprehensive" auction of Irish history memorabilia yet, the sale included many unusual or one-off items, including a Smith and Wesson handgun owned by Countess Markievicz, which she was given by the Tipperary division of the IRA.

The gun was expected to fetch between €800 and €1,400 but sold for €7,500.

Other items relating to Markievicz included a target card proving she really was a crack-shot.

The card, which included seven perforations, of which two were bulls' eyes, had a guide price of €400-€600 and sold for €1,600.

However, an exceptionally rare copy of the '1916 Proclamation of Independence' -- the founding document of the Irish Republic -- failed to reach its reserve.

Irish Independent