A walking cane owned by one of Ireland’s most revered political heroes was sold at auction for €11,000 tonight after attracting “huge” interest nationwide.
The 98-year-old walking cane, once carried everywhere by Michael Collins was by him as a gift to one of his drivers in the early 1920s.
Thirty six inches or 92cm important rosewood and silver mounted cane is being sold with a letter of provenance (proof of ownership and origin) from the vendor at De Vere’s Irish Auction Auctioneers and Valuers in Dublin.
It had a low estimated guide price of between €2000 and €4,000. After frantic bidding, starting at €2,000, all phone lines leading into the auction which was held at the Royal College of Physicians were filled with interested buyers as too was the room.
Following a tense 10 minute bidding war, by those on the phone lines the historic cane was sold to a “determined” phone buyer.
It is understood the new owner will be keeping the cane in Ireland.
The walking cane forms part of the collection of John Cormack. John (Jack) Cormack, who was born in Lucan, Dublin on June 24, 1894 was a driver for Michael Collins.
Cormack was shot in the leg and hand at the Red Cow in Dublin circa 1921 but a De Vere’s spokesperson explained that the, “exact date is unknown”. Collins gave Cormack the rosewood stick and it had remained in the family since then.
Jack Cormack’s granddaughter Sinéad inherited the cane by descent. Rory Guthrie of De Veres said: “There has been huge interest nationally in the cane since we announced that it was being auctioned due to his historic connections and value.”
County Cork’s Lord Mayor Cllr Christopher O'Sullivan, had urged senior Cork County Council officials to purchase the cane and put it on display at the Michael Collins House museum, given Collins’ links to the county.
A De Vere’s spokesperson said: “The buyer was determined to purchase the piece. It’s a piece of history and had never come to auction before.