Easter Rising rebels’ medals to be auctioned in Dublin

1916 Medals were awarded posthumously to Thomas Clarke and Joseph Plunkett

Medals awarded posthumously to two of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation are to be sold at auction in Dublin on Sunday, March 13th.

Whyte's auctioneers said the medals awarded to Thomas Clarke and Joseph Plunkett were among the items in its sale of 1916 Rising memorabilia.

The 1916 Medal was introduced by the Irish government in 1941 and was awarded to veterans of the Rising - or the next-of-kin of those who had died.

About 2,500 1916 Medals were issued.


The most valuable and sought-after medals are those awarded to seven signatories of the Proclamation.

Of these, only one - that awarded to Patrick Pearse - is in a museum.

The highest price ever paid for a 1916 Medal was €110,000 for Seán MacDermott’s medal, at an Adam’s auction in Dublin in 2008.

Whyte’s is offering the medal awarded to Thomas Clarke with a guiding price of €80,000-€120,000.

The bronze medal on a green and orange ribbon is in its original box, which was stamped with the message “Seachtmhain na Casga 1916”.

It was presented by president Douglas Hyde to Tom Clarke's widow, Ms Kathleen Clarke, in 1941.

This medal was previously sold at auction by a descendant of Ms Clarke’s in 2006, when it made €105,000, way above the top pre-sale estimate of €15,000.

Whyte’s said the 1916 Medal awarded to Joseph Plunkett was appearing at auction for the first time and was estimated at €70,000-€100,000 - slightly lower than Clarke’s.

According to auctioneer Ian Whyte, in 1941 Ms Plunkett (née Grace Clifford) "refused to attend a ceremony to receive her husband's 1916 Rising medal" and that "when the medal was posted to her she threw it in the bin".

It was rescued by a friend, whom she told to keep it. He later gave the medal as a gift to the current unnamed owner, who is selling it.

Further auctions

Sunday’s auction is the first in a series of sales of 1916-related memorabilia in Dublin. Further auctions will take place next month.

Whyte’s auction includes an original copy of the Proclamation, which was “restored and conserved to museum standard in 2001”.

It has a guiding price of €150,000-€250,000.

A copy of “A Half Proclamation” is also on sale and estimated at €5,000-€7,000.

Whyte’s said when British soldiers entered Liberty Hall at the end of the Rising, they found the lower-half frame of type used to print the Proclamation still in the printing press.

The soldiers then printed off a small number of copies as souvenirs.

It is believed that fewer than 15 examples of these half-sheets have survived, making them even rarer than the full-sheet documents.

The items in the auction are on public view until Saturday evening at Whyte’s gallery, 38 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.

The auction takes place in the adjacent Freemasons’ Hall, 17 Molesworth Street, on Sunday, starting at 1pm.

Michael Parsons

Michael Parsons

Michael Parsons is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about fine art and antiques