Auction of rare books, literature, manuscripts, and sporting collectibles makes €380,000

Permits of migrant workers travelling to Britain from Galway and Mayo.

Permits of migrant workers travelling to Britain from Galway and Mayo.

Fonsie Mealy auctioneers conducted a busy sale of more than 800 lots in Dublin on May 30. There was huge interest in the unique and interesting items on offer. Some of the west of Ireland related lots that sold for over twice their estimate were the the original door knocker from Galway Gaol (lot 529 ), described as a heavy cast iron door knocker modelled as a hand grabbing a wreath with lions mounted by Kerricks & Son on a mahogany frame, by tradition reputed to have been removed as a memento from Galway Gaol while being released from detention by Brian Corrigan, of Owenduff, Achill, West Mayo. The knocker realised €1,700, four times its pre-sale estimate.

Twenty-seven permits for migratory workers travelling to Britain from Galway and Mayo (lot 505 ), issued in the late 1940s, sold for €600. They are a poignant reminder of hard times in the west of Ireland, when emigration was the lot of many; they are also a pictorial record of men who may have disappeared into the Irish diaspora leaving few other memorials.

Among the GAA memorabilia that went under the hammer was Galway’s first All-Ireland Junior Title, 1939 (lot 888 ) together with a Connaught Provisional 9ct gold winner's medal which realised €2,000.

From the rare book and literary section the top lot sold was an original manuscript page of text from Finnegans Wake by James Joyce (lot 580 ), signed and dated, which was bought for €27,000. Flann O’Brien's archive (lot 608 ), which included much of his unpublished and unperformed work, sold for €10,000.

Speaking about the auction, director George Fonsie Mealy said: “With over 80 per cent of lots sold it proved the market for books and sporting collectibles is buoyant and an obvious area for potential investment and collectors alike.”

Fonsie Mealy auctioneers' next auction of fine art and antiques will take place in July at its salerooms in Castlecomer, Kilkenny. For valuation and other queries visit or phone 056 4441229. The company is now accepting suitable items for its autumn rare book and fine art sales.


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