Patrick Pearse surrender letter goes on public display

Letter will be on exhibit until it is sold in December at an estimated price of €1.5m

Stuart Cole of James  Adam and Sons at the GPO Witness History museum with the Patrick Pearse letter of surrender. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Stuart Cole of James Adam and Sons at the GPO Witness History museum with the Patrick Pearse letter of surrender. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

A letter of surrender from Patrick Pearse, written four days before his execution in 1916, has gone on public display for the first time.

The letter, dated April 30th, is addressed to the North King Street garrison which would not have received the order before Pearse surrendered to Gen William Lowe a day earlier.

It is to go on public display until the end of November at the GPO Witness History museum in Dublin, which said it was a “privilege and an honour” that the letter would form part of its exhibition.

There are only a few handwritten surrender notes in existence; the rest were typed. Another such note is in the Imperial War Museum in London.

Valuable document

It was originally owned by a relative of the Capuchin priest, Fr Columbus, who conveyed its contents to the North King Street garrison.

Pearse’s surrender letter is one of the most valuable documents in private hands and will be sold at auction on December 7th for between €1 million-€1.5 million. The auction will be handled by James Adam and Sons, who sold it in 2005 for €700,000, 10 times its guide price.

“The fact that value is attached to these items has actually meant that way more of these items have actually been conserved. If these items had no value in the first place, a lot of them would be discarded,” said auctioneer Stuart Cole.

Important letter

“If at some time the State decides it should be part of the National Archives as the last letter of the first provisional government, the price is only a reflection of the importance of the document,” Mr Cole said.