‘I do not think it will offend you’: Letter from WB Yeats to Maud Gonne

Handwritten letter from the poet makes €16,000 at Adam’s sale of rare Irish books and historical memorabilia

A handwritten letter from poet WB Yeats to his "dear Maud"' (Gonne), on his headed paper (82 Merrion Square, Dublin), and dated June 13th (1928), was the sleeper in Adam's sale of rare Irish books and historical memorabilia on Tuesday where it made €16,000 – eight times its median estimate (€1,500- €2,500). Kieran O'Boyle of Adam's said: "It was a fantastic price after a battle between two telephone bidders that really wanted it."

In the letter, Yeats writes: "You will find a reference to your self in Among School Children – a Waterford school I went over – I do not think it will offend you." He enclosed a copy of the collection of poems, The Tower, which he described as "the best I have done, it is certainly the most successful".

A handbill issue of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic described as “effectively the second issue of the Proclamation”, and one of only three copies recorded, made €7,500 (€3,000- €5,000).

However, the 1916 medal of Kathleen Clarke, wife of Tom Clarke, first signatory of the Proclamation, estimated at €25,000- €35,000, failed to sell. But a set of medals awarded to "one of those who fought in the GPO in Easter Week 1916" – Sean Bermingham, 'C' Comp, 1st Batt, Irish Volunteers 1916 – sold for €7,200 (€5,000- €10,000). The auction included the library of the late Tony Sweeney, a well-known book collector and Irish Times racing correspondent, and among the top lots from his collection a copy of Edmund Spenser's poem The Faerie Queene published in London in 1596 made €7,500 (€3,000-€5,000).


Overall, Adam’s said that 78 per cent of lots sold. For full list of results, see adams.ie