Auction of bookseller's private library set to raise €300,000


THE PERSONAL library of one of Ireland’s best-known booksellers is to be auctioned on Tuesday in Dublin.

The rare books auctioneers, Mealy’s, expect the sale of the late Fred Hanna’s collection to raise up to €300,000.

Hanna, who died last month aged 77, was synonymous with bookselling and ran the family-owned  book shop on Nassau Street, Dublin, for 47 years until its sale to Eason in 1999.

He was also a renowned collector and, at his home in Carrickmines, Co Dublin, had assembled a collection of hundreds of antiquarian rare books, modern first editions, maps and manuscripts.

Auctioneer George F Mealy said the collection was one of the most important private Irish libraries ever to come to market and that Hanna had travelled throughout Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales to find the best examples of rare Irish books.

The sale features all the luminaries of Irish literature and includes a first edition of Ulyssesby James Joyce and an archive of letters from WB Yeats.

A complete set of 84 monthly broadsides published between 1908 and 1915 by the Dun Emer Press in Dundrum and bound by printer Esther Ryan of Cuala Press, contains more than 100 hand-coloured drawings by Jack B Yeats and contributions by James Stephens, Douglas Hyde, Lady Gregory and other writers.

The signed set, once owned by Abbey theatre and Hollywood actor Jack MacGowran is valued at between €10,000 and €15,000.

An extensive selection of travel books includes a guide to Killarney, Co Kerry, published in 1790 by Jonathan Fisher which is illustrated with 20 plates. Mr Mealy described it as “excessively rare” and the first copy to come on the market in more than 40 years. It has been assigned an estimate of €8,000-€12,000.

The sale includes some unusual items, such as a form of indemnity issued by the ESB, indemnifying the firm in the event of any default by John Free of Riversadale Cottage, Riversdale, Rathfarnham, Co Dublin, signed by WB and Mrs George Yeats.

Also on sale will be Bank of Ireland correspondence from 1828 concerning complaints about delays in transmitting money to treasury accounts in Dublin.

An oil painting entitled No 27 Nassau Street – Fred Hanna’s Bookshopby artist Diarmuid J Boyd is also included in the sale.