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Rare autograph book up for auction in Limerick

A message from Limerick prisoner Jack Smyth who was sent to the Curragh in 1922, which is included in an autograph book that will go under the hammer next week. Picture courtesy Limerick Auction Rooms

A message from Limerick prisoner Jack Smyth who was sent to the Curragh in 1922, which is included in an autograph book that will go under the hammer next week. Picture courtesy Limerick Auction Rooms

  • by Anne Sheridan
 

AN “EXTREMELY rare” autograph book with signatures from Irish Republican prisoners nearly a century ago could fetch up to €3,000 at auction this month.

Limerick Auction Rooms is holding three specialist auctions this month. Collectibles, toys and memorabilia will go under the hammer on February 14, while a military auction will be held on February 15, and coins and banknotes to be auctioned on February 16.

Out of some 800 lots in all, the item which is causing the most excitement, ahead of the viewing days this Saturday, is an autograph book from the Curragh, containing the signatures of at least four Limerickmen who fought for Irish independence.

Auctioneer Daren Parish said the book, which is being sold by a Limerick person, was bought at auction two years ago before its full historical value was realised. It contains 56 signed pages. “It’s a very unique piece of history and something we probably won’t see again,” he said.

The book belonged to Tom Hales, a high ranking Republican from Cork, and contains rhymes and political aspirations from young men from across the country, but predominantly from Limerick and Cork.

Of the men who features in the book is Frank Ryan, who was born in Knocklong, County Limerick in September 1902, and died during WW2 in Dresden. While studying at UCD, Ryan became politically active, took the Anti-treaty side when the Civil War broke out and fought in Dublin in the early months of the conflict. Having escaped from Dublin after it was over-run by the pro-Treaty forces, Ryan returned to the east Limerick area where he was captured.

Another prisoner, Jack Smyth, from Limerick, quotes the following from the book, The Principles of Freedom: “Not all the armies of the Empire on the earth can crush the spirit of one true man.”

Other rare items listed for auction include a 9ft WW2 Nazi flag, with a guide price of between €400 to €500, and Hitler Youth clothing. Dozens of items relating to The Beatles will also be up for auction, including 19 LPs from The Beatles, John Lennon, Elton John, and The Dubliners.

 

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