1916 Proclamation in ‘negative equity’

Easter Rising poster suffers huge price drop – down from €240,000 to €90,000


As the centenary commemorations for the Easter Rising draw closer there had been speculation that the prices for items of memorabilia would begin to rise sharply.

But this week at Adam’s “History” auction in Dublin an original copy of the 1916 Proclamation sold for €90,000 – failing to reach even its low estimate (€100,000). The same copy last changed hands – also in an Adam’s auction – in 2007 when it sold for €240,000.

Adam’s said the “private client” had decided to sell the document after owning it for seven years and was “realistic in his approach to pricing and happy to offer it for sale at the same estimate that we had guided it at in 2007, €100,000 to €150,000”.

It is estimated that 1,000 copies of the Proclamation were printed in Dublin. Most copies of the flimsy paper poster were either destroyed during the fighting and destruction in Dublin – or were subsequently lost.

It is believed that about 50 copies have survived. Half are in public ownership – in museums and libraries including four copies owned by the Irish State: in the National Museum, the National Library of Ireland, Leinster House and Kilmainham Gaol – and the other 25 copies still in private ownership.

Kieran O’Boyle of Adam’s said the highest price ever paid at auction for a copy of the 1916 Proclamation was €390,000 at Adam’s in 2004.

That spectacular price prompted other private owners to sell. Four years later, in 2008, Adam’s sold another copy, “signed by Sean McGarry, who was Tom Clarke’s bodyguard and fought in the GPO” for €360,000.

But the price for an unsigned copy – depending on condition - now seems to about €100,000.

In 2012, a copy made €100,000 and last year one sold for €96,000. Mr O’Boyle said: “The recession has obviously had an effect on the prices realised, but the demand to own one is still there”.

A handwritten countermand order, signed by Eoin MacNeill in a botched attempt to cancel the Easter Rising just reached its lower estimate and sold for €30,000 (€30,000-€50,000).

Overall, 57 per cent of the lots sold in the auction titled 800 Years – Irish Political, Literary & Military History .

An “original monochrome press photograph” of the Irish delegation led by Michael Collins in London in 1921 negotiating the Anglo-Irish Treaty made €2,600 (€1,000-€1,500).

A copy of the French newspaper Le Petit Journal ’s weekly illustrated supplement published in Paris on September 3rd, 1922, with a front page showing a dramatic artist’s impression of the death of Michael Collins in west Cork with the headline “Les convulsions sanglantes de l’Irlande’” (Bloody convulsions in Ireland) sold for €100 (€150-€250).

An 18ct gold medal awarded to Harold Segerson Mahony, lawn tennis champion at the All-England Club in 1896 and described as “the last Irishman to win Wimbledon”, which sold for €24,000 – comfortably exceeding the estimate (€15,000-€20,000).

A pair of “Irish Lord Lieutenant’s full dress epaulettes” in the original fitted tin case sold for €150 (€200-€300).

For full results see adams.ie

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