A fascinating collection of rare historical Irish items which provide a unique insight into our rich heritage will go under the hammer this month.

This treasure trove will go up for auction at the ‘A Gathering of All Things Irish Sale’ run by Auctioneers Fonsie Mealy on Tuesday, July 23rd at the Clyde Court Hotel, Ballsbridge in Dublin at 10.30am.

Among the captivating pieces is the archive of former IRA Chief of Staff, Eoin O’Duffy and rare surviving relics from the Howth Gun Running along with magnificent craft works, sports memorabilia and a stunning collection of rare books.

One lot drawing a lot of attention already is a collection of Irish Volunteers uniform brass buttons, which comes complete with an autograph signed covering note to General Eoin O’Duffy from Michael Collin’s sister, Margaret Collins Powell. The note reads: “Please send me a receipt for the enclosed, found in Michael’s tunic pocket, August 22nd 1922”- this was the day of Collins’ death.  The buttons are estimated to fetch between € 1,500 and €2,000.

A unique collection of nine teletype messages from Reuters news agency to an Irish news organisation -presumably RTE- recording the first news of the assassination of President John F Kennedy in Dallas, 22 November 1963 is also among the lots. The first message, received at 6.42pm Irish time, headed ‘SNAP BULLLETIN’ records that ‘President Kennedy was “shot today while riding in a motorcade”. The telegraphs record further messages from Chancellor Ludwig Erhard of West Germany, General De Gaulle, of France and finally a report of the discovery of a rifle found on the staircase of the fifth floor of a building near the scene of the assassination. President Kennedy’s assassination is one of the defining events of the 20th Century. RTE – then only two years on air – broke its programming schedule for the first time to broadcast a newsflash on that fateful day with newscaster Charles Mitchel based on these teletext messages. The telegrams are estimated to fetch between €2,000-€3,000.

George F. (Fonsie) Mealy from Kilkenny-based Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers said: “We are very excited to bring this unique collection to auction. There are countless items of rich historical interest among the collection.  There is a big price range which will cater for every pocket. The lowest priced items are valued at as little as €70 euro with other items ranging up to the €7,000 to €8,000 mark.  We would encourage interested parties to come and view the items.”

Viewing commences at Fonsie Mealy auction rooms in Chatsworth Street, Castlecomer on Wednesday, July 17th from 10am to 5pm and at the Clyde Court Hotel, Ballsbridge on Sunday, July 21st from `1.30pm-7pm and on Monday, July 22nd from 10.30am-7pm.  To view complete catalogue visit www.fonsiemealy.ie.

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