Heavy bidding in GAA auction

A collection of GAA match programmes fetched €15,775 at an auction in Cork last weekend.

As flagged last week in the Irish Examiner, a programme for the 1939 All-Ireland Hurling Final proved the star attraction, going for €500 to a collector. That famous ‘Thunder and Lightning Final’ between Kilkenny and Cork took place amid a torrential storm on the day World War II was declared.

There was also surprisingly heavy interest in bundles of programmes from Munster Championship matches, one lot selling for €2,800, wildly in excess of the estimated price of €100-200.

“Collectors came from all over the country and clearly they knew exactly what they were after,” said auctioneer Denis Lynes of auction house Lynes & Lynes, which hosted the sale.

“Some games you might have expected to attract big offers didn’t go as well. The 1962 All-Ireland Final between Wexford and Tipp, for example, didn’t get a single bid. I even thought the Thunder and Lightning Final would get more.

“But that bundle of Munster programmes drew fiercely competitive bidding. It had games from 1940 to 1968 and I thought I’d be letting it go for €100. And the first two bids were modest enough. But then it went straight to €850 and I thought, ‘what’s happening here?’ Then to €1,400 and we were having bids on the floor and on the phone. We had four phones on the go.

“The collectors were very determined and eventually it went for €2,800.”

A bundle of programmes from Munster Football Finals between 1947 and 1973 sold for €2,500 and a collection of National League programmes fetched €1,630. While a bundle from GAA games played at Wembley between 1958 and 1976 attracted €1,160.

The collection was put together by a lifelong enthusiast from the midlands who has passed away. His family decided to auction the programmes after almost putting them in a skip.

“They were surprised and extremely happy with the proceeds,” Lynes said.

Some of the collectors explained the factors that go into determining a programme’s value.

“Obviously, some have gaps in their collection they want to fill. And some of the early programmes are rare. But one guy told me he checks the weather online for the games involved and if it was on a wet day, he’ll pay more for the programme.

“Most of those programmes from the early days won’t have survived a wet day, with fellas putting them on their heads for shelter.”

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