Dublin boy wins Young Collectors competition
Competition:The inaugural Ireland’s Young Collectors Competition was remarkable on account of the huge level of interest it attracted, and for the quality of all of the submissions.
All entrants to the competition, sponsored by the Irish Antique Dealers Association, myantiques.ieand The Irish Times, showed an excellent capacity for collecting a diverse range of items.
The winner, James O’Floinn, was awarded the €1,000 prize for his fine selection of items from several wars and the very significant historical value of his Irish collection of memorabilia with the 1916 centenary approaching.
Congratulations also to Jack Burke who took honours earlier this year in the Young Collectors Galway Competition for his impressive enamel sports pin badge collection.
Here are the winning and shortlisted submissions for the Young Collectors Competition with feedback from one of the judges, Niall Mullen of Niall Mullen Antiques.
James O’Floinn is 11 and is from Monkstown, Dublin.
He began collecting two years ago after a visit to his grandparents, when he met a Cold War veteran. The next day the veteran gave him pieces from his time in the RAF. Other items have been bought at auction. His collection includes a card signed by Éamon de Valera and a cheque signed by Terence MacSwiney.
This collection is of broad domestic and international historical importance, and though not an important factor for the competition, it has a significant financial value. Historical military items always spark fascination and the fact that this collection has an Irish and an international dimension makes it all the more special.
The army kit box containing sewing and navigational charts is book-ended by medals awarded. It is a real bonus to have helmets from the German and Russian armies.
The signed cheque by Terence MacSwiney is really significant as it was issued and signed in March 1920, just months before he died on hunger strike in Brixton Prison.
The card signed by de Valera is also significant in the context of his role in the formation of the State. The personal note to J Flynn from Tom Barry is a lovely touch. To have a signed edition of his memoirs is significant.
In the world of antiques the big growth areas have been what we refer to as collectibles and this is greatly in evidence here. All of the international items would be sought, after but it is the Irish dimension that makes this collection a clear winner.
Jack Hannon is 14 and is from Glanmire, Co Cork. He began collecting Star Wars and Dr Who figures when he was 10, but then got into older collectibles after watching antique shows on TV.
He sources items from auctions, the internet, car boot sales and donations from friends and family. Hannon says: “One of my best finds was around the back of a café in Molls Gap in Kerry when I spotted an old petrol pump. We ended up bringing it home in the car. My Mum wasn’t too happy sharing with a rusty old pump.”
Jack has great vision and has saved items from the not too distant past that remind us of what Ireland was like in more simple times. The petrol pump is great, all the enamel signs are in good condition and the Carroll’s brand was so prevalent in days gone by. The Bovril sign might not be rare but it is pictorial, and to have the local sign for O Shea’s is good. Enamel signage has had something of a renaissance in the past couple of years, so these items have become sought after.