Historic items from literary legends Behan, Swift, Shakespeare & Heaney go under the hammer

Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers will hold its exciting Annual Christmas Sale at The Gresham Hotel, Tuesday 13th December from 10.15am. The sale comprises of over 800 lots and consists of a magnificent collection of Rare Books, Literature, Manuscripts, Maps and Works of Art.

For the child that loves to read and for parents looking for an unusual Christmas present this auction is the perfect reason to gift a piece of history that they can be a part of. Going under the hammer is the unpublished children’s book ‘GROWLY-WOWLY’ by Irish Novelist Edith Somerville (Whose books inspired the 1980’s TV Show, ‘The Irish RM’)  [1858-1949]. Better known to most as ‘The Story of the Three Little Pigs’ this fantastic original signed manuscript tells the story written in Somerville’s hand, and with seven superb full page watercolour illustrations is estimated at €3,000 – €5,000. There are many other sought after beautiful artworks, signed manuscripts and limited editions by Edith Somerville included in the auction.

Other charming children’s classics is the First Edition of Tom Sawyer ‘Abroad by Mark Twain’ (1894) and First Edition of ‘The House at Pooh Corner’, by A.A. Milne (1928). Now a popular fantasy movie, a wonderful First Edition of  ‘Alice and Wonderland – Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There’, originally written by C.L. Dodgson, will enter the auction estimated at €250 – €300.

An important collection of handwritten and typescript ballads, composed by renowned author and singer Brendan Behan will be auctioned. The collection which is expected to fetch in excess of its estimate of €3,000, encapsulates the love and republicanism of a man that gave us some of the most iconic ballads of Irish freedom – ‘The Foggy Dew’ and ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’. The archives also include autographed scripts, pencilled notes and corrections by Behan himself.

An item of historical interest, associated with the Irish Provisional Government (Rialtas Sealadach na hÉireann) is a very rare 1922 Proclamation, in relation to the matter of the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, which was signed in London on the 6th of December 1921. This rare historic item, probably unrecorded, is the proclamation declaring the calling of a Parliament in Ireland to meet in Dublin city on the 1st July 1922, which did not meet until September after the death of Collins and Griffin. The proclamation was published in Dublin on the 27th day of May, 1922 and signed by Míchaeál Ó Coileáin, Chairman of the Provisional Government and Diarmuid Ó hÉigceartuigh, Secretary to the Provisional Government, bidding is estimated at €1,000 – €1,500.

Respected legends of Irish and English literature are greatly supported in this auction. Shakespeare’s first printing outside of England “The Works of Shakespeare” in eight volumes, printed in Dublin will go under the hammer. This extremely rare, fine complete set, as far as the auctioneer is aware has not been offered for sale in the last 100 years (est. €7,000 – €10,000).

Representing some of the famous Irish Literary lots is a Seamus Heaney item, a signed holograph manuscript copy of the poem ‘The Wishing Chair’, from his Squarings sequence (est. €1,000 – €1,500), as well as other rare signed editions.

Items sure to pique interest from overseas include an excessively rare copy of a Benjamin Franklin Imprint, printed in 1744 in Philadelphia. With only a handful of copies held in Institutional Libraries Worldwide this item is expected to fetch between est. €7000 – €10,000.

An original signed volume from Jonathan Swift’s Library with visibly signed ‘Jon: Swift,’ in ink is a very scarce and sought after item (est.€10,000 – €15,000) and will go under the hammer along with many other rarities. A desire of every Irish antiquarian book collector, is a set of John Colgan’s 17th Century printings (est. €6,000 – €8,000).

A wonderful complete set of Jack B Yeats, Cuala Press Broadsides will feature alongside other Yeats material. Created in fine hand-coloured illustrations all by Yeats, the set was published and printed monthly from June 1908 – May 1915 in Dundrum (est. €4000 – 6000).

Included in the sale is a selection of photographs by one of the earliest pioneers of photography in Ireland, circa. 1855, taken by to Sir Joscelyn (J.J.) Coghill,  First Secretary of the Dublin Photographic Society. The album containing approx 140 photographs is estimated at €6,000 – 8,000.

Initial viewing will take place on Thursday 8th December at Chatsworth, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny. With additional viewings at The Gresham Hotel, Dublin on Sunday 11th December from 1pm – 6pm and Monday 12th September from 10.30 – 6pm. The sale will take place also in The Gresham Hotel on Tuesday 13th December at 10.15am

For more information on the items up for auction, please visit www.fonsiemealy.ie

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