Copy of Proclamation sells for €170,000 at auction in Dublin

It is estimated there are fewer than 50 copies still in existence

A copy of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic was sold for €170,000 at auction on Wednesday.

The document, one of only about 50 still in existence, was sold at the Christmas Rare Books and Collectors’ Sale in the Talbot Hotel in Stillorgan, Dublin.

The Proclamation is believed to have been the literary composition of Pádraig Pearse, with some changes and amendments by James Connolly and Thomas MacDonagh.

The copy sold at auction was printed in Liberty Hall, Dublin, on a ‘’Wharfdale Double-Crown’’ printing machine. The work commenced about midday on Sunday April 23rd and was completed around 1am on Easter Monday. James Connolly is said to have organised the printing.


The copy was purchased by the vendor some years ago from a leading Dublin book-dealer. Most of the other intact copies are stored in museums and other cultural institutions.

George Mealy, director of Fonsie Mealy auctioneers, said: “There can be no more desirable document for persons and institutions with an interest in modern Irish history. Copies in good condition are few and far between and we are pleased and privileged to offer this excellent example.”

The copy sold had some tears and repairs, including minor loss to the periphery text fading at the edges.

Other copies of the 1916 Irish Proclamation have made between €190,000 and €420,000 over the past seven years.

Meanwhile, a blackthorn shillelagh that belonged to Irish revolutionary Michael Collins was sold at auction for €4,000.

Lot 577, “The Big Fella’s Shillelagh”, was almost 18 inches in length, between one and two inches in thickness and pierced for hanging.

The stick was reportedly given by Collins’ niece to Dr John Nesfield, based in the UK, who later gifted it to Dominic Collins in Co Wicklow. The 100th anniversary of the Irish revolutionary’s assassination was marked last August.

Other memorabilia relating to Collins included a file of letters and drafts concerning the appointment of a Supervisor or Registrar of Friendly Societies for Dáil Éireann, from September/October 1921 which sold for €3,200.

Lot 584, consisting of two pages of typescript with manuscript notes in the hand of Collins, also sold for €3,200. Mr Mealy said the pages were marked in pencil, Copy / For Official Auditor, and listed “various accounts, allocations, including Truce Negotiations accounts, Delegation accounts, etc”.

Collins’ pocket seal, with engraved letters MC (in reverse), made €4,800.

An important file of original unpublished letters detailing the establishment of the Abbey Theatre sold for €11,000.