Fine Gael memorabilia on the block

A collection of election posters from 1932 for sale at Whyte’s

Sat, Mar 1, 2014, 02:00

As party delegates gather in the RDS, Dublin this weekend for the Fine Gael Ard Fheis, Whyte’s auctioneers has announced the sale of a unique collection of the political party’s memorabilia.

The Anglo-Irish Treaty which led to independence from Britain in 1922 split the Irish political establishment and two major new political parties came into existence. The pro-treaty faction (including Michael Collins and WT Cosgrave) evolved into Cumann na nGaedheal and the anti-treaty faction, led by Éamon de Valera, evolved into Fianna Fáil. Cumann na nGaedheal formed the first Irish Free State government and, under the leadership of WT Cosgrave as president (equivalent to taoiseach today), ran the country for the first decade.

In 1932, in a fiercely contested general election, held on February 16th, Fianna Fáil won power for the first time with
44.5 per cent of first-preference votes, compared to 35.2 per cent for Cumann na nGaedheal. In 1933, Cumann na nGaedheal was re-named Fine Gael.

Election literature is a niche but growing field for collectors, and Whyte’s described the collection of Cumann na nGaedheal 1932 election posters as “scarce and many are rare, most of them cannot be found in the national collections”.

Most of the posters were designed by the artist Frank Brandt and, according to auctioneer Ian Whyte: “there was no subtlety in their vitriolic abuse of Fianna Fáil and its leader, Éamon de Valera”. The posters are extremely hard-hitting by today’s rather milder standards and slogans included : “The Gunmen and Communists are Voting for Fianna Fáil”. The posters will be sold individually, with estimates ranging from €100 to €300.The posters, and hundreds of other items in the History, Literature & Collectibles sale, will go on view at Whyte’s in Molesworth Street, Dublin from 10am on Thursday (March 6th) and the auction takes place in the nearby Freemasons’ Hall on Sunday next, March 9th, starting at 11am.

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