The home-made flag, with the words ‘Sinn Féin go deo’ painted into the middle white panel, was recovered from the yard of Dublin Castle after it was apparently dumped there with other items confiscated from Irish Volunteers after the surrender of the rebels.
Having been sold by descendants of the Royal Irish Constabulary clerk in 1999, and bought for €20,000 by a private collector seven years ago, it was offered for sale at Whyte’s auction of historical and literary interest items on Saturday. However, it failed to meet the seller’s reserve price.
Nonetheless, Whyte’s head of collectibles Stuart Purcell said there may still be some post-auction offers.
The dress uniforms of General John Maxwell, military governor in Ireland after the Rising began, made €6,600. He had overall charge of the courtsmartial that led to the 15 executions and 3,400 arrests on foot of the events of Easter week.
As the centenary of the Rising approaches, a potentially invaluable source for historians fetched €3,800 in the same sale. The duty log of the Dublin ambulance service details the location of incidents, time of call-out, nature of the injuries, and the names of casualties, which should help paint a clearer picture of some aspects of the six-day rebellion. It is expected to become accessible to researchers soon, after its purchase by an institutional archive.
Just over €3,000 plus fees was paid for a 1909 edition of Oxford University’s statues and decrees in Latin. Normally worth around €10 to €20, this particular edition has a compartment cut into the pages and houses a revolver, and was thought to have once belonged to Irish Volunteers founder Bulmer Hobson.
Another 1916 artefact which changed hands was a very rare half-portion of the original printing of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic, reaching a hammer price of €5,600. The full document was originally printed in two pieces because of limits on the press commissioned by the rebellion leaders, but British soldiers were said to have run off a small number of copies of this lower half from the typeframe found later in the Irish Citizen Army’s Liberty Hall headquarters.
Mr Purcell said the decade of centenaries has seen more families putting up items linked to the Rising and the War of Independence.
Over €4,000 was paid for a Co Limerick prisoner’s autograph book with messages and signatures of Michael Collins and other internees in the Welsh prisoner-of-war camp in Frongoch.
A bidder paid €1,500 for a February 1919 letter from Collins to an unknown recipient, and €1,100 was the highest bid on 23 press photographs of Collins, Arthur Griffith, Harry Boland, and other nationalist leaders from 1918-1922.