An auction of rare books, literature, manuscripts and sporting collectibles

Fonsie Mealy auctioneers will conduct an auction comprising more than 800 lots on May 30 at the Tara Towers Hotel, Dublin 4.

The auction will include modern Irish, English, and international literature; first editions, signed and association copies, periodicals, photographs, and a rare collection of GAA and other sporting memorabilia.

First editions for box office Irish writers such as Joyce, Flann O’Brien, Kavanagh, Yeats, and others, too many to mention, formed from two private Irish collections, is being offered for sale by Fonsie Mealy auctioneers.

For collectors of James Joyce material there is an array of first and signed editions. A unique item in the literary section is an original signed manuscript by James Joyce. The manuscript is from the opening sequence of Anna Livia Plurabelle (lot 443 €8,000 - €10,000 ) from Finnegan's Wake and is one of the principal highlights of the sale. Another Joycean collectible is a rare recording of Joyce reading Anna Livia Plurabelle (lot 578 €400 – €600 ). Joyce is also represented by important first editions such as Chamber Music (lot 243 €350 - €450, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Boy which is about Joyce's school days (lot 571 €3,000 – €4,000 ), Dubliners (lot 192 €350 – €450 ), and others.

William Butler Yeats is another literary great represented in this with his first work Mosada. It is thought that only 500 copies were printed, of which very few can have survived in anything like this condition. Given that Mosada is completely unobtainable, this must be the foundation stone of any major Yeats collection (lot 550 €3,500 – €5,000 ). Also featured is Lady Gregory’s personal copy of Yeats’ Poems Written In Discouragement, one of only 50 copies and even more rare it is signed Yeats himself, and with her bookplate is estimated at €2,500 - €4,000 (lot 553 ).

Two modern Irish writers who started their careers from humble beginnings and made their mark in Dublin initially and then internationally are the satirist Flann O’Brien, and the poet and author Patrick Kavanagh. Flann O’Brien's most famous work At Swim Two Birds (lot 110 €1,750 – €2,500 ) is being offered for sale. The exceedingly rare author’s first novel, most of which were destroyed in the 1940s German Blitz of London and was described as Graham Greene as "a book in a thousand", is indeed a rarity. One of the sale’s highlights is a highly important and unique collection, which includes intriguing examples of his later work, much of it unpublished and unperformed; and information about the sometimes distressing circumstances of his later years, after he was required to resign from the Civil Service, and so to had make his living as a writer (Lot 608 €6,000 – €8,000 ). Two personal mementos from the author’s life are his bureau bookcase (lot 609 €700 – €1,000 ) where he typed many stories late into the night, and also his supportive walking aid (lot 610 €350 – €400 ).

Patrick Kavanagh’s first novel The Green Fool (lot 269 ) is for sale with an estimate of €1,000 – €1,500. Controversially the first edition was suppressed due to a libel threat by Oliver St John Gogarty against Kavanagh, over derogatory remarks that Kavanagh made about his wife. The one for sale is a first edition, first issue with orginal dustjacket. Other first signed editions including Ploughman and Other Poems.

For espionage enthusiasts there is a signed first edition of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carre. Collectors of children's books will have ample choice from the selection offered for sale. There are a number of Harry Potter editions, some of which are signed by the cast and author (Lot 95 €600 – €800 ). Renowned children’s author Beatrix Potter is represented in the sale. There is a set of four from the early 1900s including Two Blind Mice and The Tailor of Gloucester, with an estimate of €600 – €800 (lot 97 ).

Extremely rare GAA and other sporting memorabilia are included in the sale. County Laois’ first and only All-Ireland Hurling medal from 1915 comes under the hammer for the first time with a pre-sale of €7,000 – €10,000 (lot 891 ). Having been beaten by Clare the previous year on a scoreline of 5-1 to 1-0, the Laois men gathered their thoughts and regrouped to reach another final. Under the captaincy of Jack Finlay, they beat the Leesiders on October 24, 1915, claiming their first and only title, winning 6-2 to 4-1.

Lot 884 is an important County Louth GAA medal collection of 12 medals awarded to Johnny Brennan. By the time of Brennan's retirement in 1916, the playing structure of the GAA as we know it today was decided upon. Apparently Louth in this period were one of the fnest exponents of the GAA game. Louth at this time played many exhibition matches, teaching the many skills of the game such as dribbling, free taking etc to other counties (€15,000 - €20,000 ).

Other GAA memorabilia include official match programmes from 1930s to 1950s, a match ticket from the tragic football match in 1920 known as Bloody Sunday (lot 885 €600 – €700 ), miniatures of the Sam Maguire and Liam McCarthy cups, both approximately €150 - €200, the rugby ball from 1948 Grand Slam winning match between Ireland and Wales (lot 871 €700 – €900 ), and the programme from the day Munster conquered the All-Blacks in Thomond Park 1978 (lot 870 €350 – €450 ).

For more information contact Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers at 056 4441229/[email protected]

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