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Michael Collins letter sells for €16,000

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  • Michael Collins letter sells for €16,000

    Michael Collins letter sells for €16,000

    MICHAEL PARSONS

    A LETTER written from an English prison by Michael Collins to his sister sold for €16,000 at auction in Dublin last night. Letters and notebooks by Collins were among the highlights of the sixth annual Independence sale of Irish historical items hosted by Adam’s and Mealy’s.

    A handgun owned by Countess Markievicz sold for €7,500, far above its estimate of €800- €1,400. But a copy of the 1916 Proclamation failed to sell.

    Some 28 letters from Collins to his sister Johanna (“Hannie”) and other private papers were auctioned individually and made €202,000 – double the estimate. The letters were sold by an unnamed Collins family source.

    Collins, leader of Ireland’s first government after Independence from Britain, was shot and killed during the Civil War in 1922.

    The letters shed extensive light on his political views and personal life. They were written between 1916 and 1921 from various addresses in Ireland and prisons in England to his elder sister who lived in west Kensington, London. She worked for the Post Office Savings Bank. Collins had lived in her flat during his time in England, between 1906 and 1916.

    A letter by Collins, written in Stafford Jail in England (where he had been sent after the Easter Rising), made €16,000 – more than double its highest estimate of €7,000.

    The letter, dated May 16th, 1916, was written in pencil on a single sheet of paper and sent to his sister “c/o The Chief Postal Censor, London”.

    Collins writes of “the dreadful monotony, the heart-scalding eternal brooding on all sorts of things, thoughts of friends dead and living, especially those recently dead – but above all the time – the horror of the way in which it refuses to pass”.


    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
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