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    Saturday, December 9th, 2023
    William Hurst Ashpitel’s prizewinning 1805 design for Ormond Bridge, Dublin. UPDATE: THIS MADE 11,000 AT HAMMER

    A bound copy of one of the most elaborate 19th century publications on the Near East leads Fonsie Mealy’s two day rare book and collectors sale on December 12 and 13. This brimful of interest sale, being held this year in Castlecomer, offers  rarities like the first edition of the first book by the first Irish author to write for a printing press rather than a scriptorum, important 1916 documents, the first Dublin All Ireland Hurling Championships medal from 1889, a lock of Oscar Wilde’s hair and the 1805 design for Ormond Bridge in Dublin (now named O’Donovan Rossa Bridge) by William Hurst Ashpitel (1776-1852). The design for O’Donovan Rossa Bridge near the Four Courts in Dublin is important because it was William Hurst Ashpitel of London who won the design competition in 1805. The bridge as it stands is as shown in his drawing, but the architects had previously been identified only as George Knowles and James Savage.  This piece of architectural history is estimated at €5,000-€7,000. 

    A 1926 All Ireland hurling final programme (won by Cork). UPDATE: THIS MADE 3,000 AT HAMMER

    Among more than 1,000 lots are a variety of GAA medals and other sporting memorabilia like a Bloody Sunday match ticket, a set of 26 views of Dublin by James Malton, a collection of Irish literature, travel plates and books and an unpublished letter by Michael Collins dated July 29, 1922 – just three weeks before his death – in which he states: “I am against shooting down unarmed men in any circumstances”. The first three volumes of The Holy Land, Syria, Idumae, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia by David Roberts and George Croly, published in 1842-43, is estimated at €10,000-€15,000. Duns Scotus Joannes by Maurice O’Fihily, Archbishop of Tuam – an edited commentary on the metaphysics of Aristotle believed to be the work of Duns published in Venice in 1497 – has an estimate of €8,000-€12,000.

    An original Army issue Blueshirt tunic. UPDATE: THIS MADE 950 AT HAMMER

    Among the other top lots are Dublin’s first All-Ireland medal from 1889 (€7,000-€10,000), a collection of 1916 documents including a rare copy of Irish War News printed during the Rising (€6,000-€9,000), Malton’s Dublin views and a lock of Oscar Wilde’s hair, each estimated at €6,000-€8,000. An edition of Bog Poems by Seamus Heaney illustrated by Barrie Cooke is estimated at €4,000-€6,000, as is a facsimile edition of the Book of Kells, and a copy of An Ideal Husband inscribed by Oscar Wilde.

    A dummy rifle used in North Cork training during the War of Independence. UPDATE: THIS MADE 280 AT HAMMER

    Among many lots of note is an original Army issued Blueshirt tunic (€1,000-€1,500), a rare dummy wooden training rifle used in the early stages of the War of Independence in North Cork (€300-€500) – this lot highlights the lack of basic equipment by those in Ireland who took on the might of the British Empire just over a century ago and won! – and a cheque written in 1920 by Terence MacSwiney during his brief tenure as martyred Lord Mayor of Cork to the Good Shepherd Convent.  He disbursed his entire mayoral salary in charitable donations.The auction will take place at the saleroom in Castlecomer and online next Tuesday and Wednesday at 10.30 am on each day.  The catalogue is online and viewing continues in Castlecomer tomorrow afternoon and all day on Monday.