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    Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

    A first edition of The Crescent Moon, a 1913 book by the world renowned Bengali Poet Tagore Rabindranath Tagore with an introduction by the Irish poet W. B. Yeats, comes up at Fonsie Mealy’s summer collectors sale online until July 15. They met in 1912 and Yeats was instrumental in promoting Tagore to western audiences. Song Offerings was published by MacMillan and Co. and the book is estimated at 100-150.


    Sunday, May 3rd, 2020

    With everything from the theatre programme for the first production of The Playboy of the Western World at the Abbey Theatre in 1907 to the poetry of Terence McSwiney to the GAA medals of Leonard McGrath and a cache of old IRA documents from 1924-31 the online Collectors Sale by Fonsie Mealy is brimful of interest.The timed auction of 439 lots runs at The Saleroom until the evening of May 5.  It features scare modern literature items, signed copies, limited editions, manuscripts, sporting memorabilia, Republican material, cinema posters, pub memorabilia, rare Irish and Scotch whiskies, bourbon and liqueurs and even some designer handbags, purses and scarves.The Leonard McGrath collection is, at €15,000-20,000, the most expensively estimated lot.  He played a starring forward role in Galway’s first All Ireland hurling win in 1923 and also played on the winning 1925 football team.  A member of the elite group of 16 players to achieve such a success in both codes the Australian born Galway reared McGrath was, as a member of the winning Galwegians rugby team in the 1926-27 season, expelled from the GAA  for playing a foreign sport. The lot includes a large bundle of musical scores signed by Leonard McGrath and used at competitions and various singing events and Feis CeoilsA programme for the 1931 All-Ireland Hurling Final in which Cork drew with Kilkenny is estimated at €500-700.  Cork won the replay.Lot 274 is a file of IRA Army Council archives from 1924-25 and 1929-31.  It comprises document sent to and issued by the IRA’s Chief of Staff who for much of the period covered was Moss Twomey.   More than 300 documents over 500 pages give detailed accounts of activities and internal procedures.  The lot is estimated at €1,000-1,500.A scarce 1918 book of poetry by Terence MacSwiney, Battle Cries, in grey printed wrappers with proceeds in aid of the Dependents Fund has an estimate of €150-200. There is no publisher or censor’s approval.  The author was elected Lord Mayor of Cork after the murder of Tomas MacCurtain in March of 1920.  Arrested later that year and charged with having seditious documents the Lord Mayor of Cork died aged 41 on the 74th day of his hunger strike in Brixton Prison on October 25, 1920.There is a limited edition book of poetry from John Montague. A Fair House: Versions of Irish Poetry was printed in 1972.  It is being sold together with another Montague work, The Lost Notebook, with illustrations by John Verling published by the Mercier Press in 1987. The estimate is €100-150.  There are first editions by authors ranging from Liam O’Flaherty and Frank O’Connor to Ian Fleming as well as cinema posters and historic rugby programmes.The Abbey Theatre programme for Saturday, 26th January 1907  for seven nights including the first production of The Playboy by Synge is estimated at €200-300.  This was one of the most celebrated and controversial productions of the Irish theatre.  All lots can be viewed on The Saleroom.

    UPDATE: The sale realised in excess of € 120,000  on the hammer with 85% sold. The Leonard McGrath medals made 28,500 at hammer.



    Friday, May 1st, 2020

    Leonard McGrath, the Galway dual player whose medals come up at Fonsie Mealy’s online Collectors sale which runs to May 5, was also a talented singer. Lot 304 of the auction, which contains his amazing medal collection, includes a fine selection of sheet music used by McGrath at singing competitions during various Feis Ceoils and other events. The large bundle of musical scores features favourites like The Rose of Tralee, Down by the Sally Gardens, The Green Hills of Ireland, My Lagan Love and many more. McGrath won All Ireland senior hurling and football medals for Galway and was a talented rugby player, which resulted in his expulsion from the GAA. He was an athlete and, in later life, a golfer. UPDATE: LOT 304 SOLD FOR A HAMMER PRICE OF 28,500 OVER A TOP ESTIMATE OF 20,000.

    These scores are mostly inscribed by Leonard McGrath


    Friday, April 24th, 2020

    The Leonard McGrath GAA medal collection promises to be one of the top lots at Fonsie Mealy’s online Collectors sale which runs from April 27 until Tuesday, May 5. The collection of the Galway dual star includes All-Ireland, Provincial and related materials. A nine carat gold All-Ireland winners medal Celtic Cross with pierced decoration, central harp and Eire across, inscribed “All Ireland Hurling Championship 1923, won by Galway – Leonard McGrath,” is typical of a collection estimated at 15,000-20,000.

    Born in Queensland, Australia Leonard McGrath returned as a young child to Galway, where he was reared. He qualified as a teacher in 1918 and in 1922 was a member of the Galway Senior Hurling XV, winning a Connaught title. He was subsequently chosen and starred at full forward to win Galway’s first Hurling All Ireland. He showed his versatility in sports by also been chosen to represent his adopted county in football and played on the winning 1925 team, which also was the county’s first title in Football. He became the county’s first dual star, and only player to achieve success in both codes. McGrath is a member of an elite group of only 16 players to achieve this accolade, in the G.A.A.’s long history.

    He also played rugby and was a member of the winning Galwegians team beating U.C.G. 3-0 in the 1926-27 Season. This brought with it a caveat, he was duly expelled from the G.A.A. for playing a ‘Foreign Sport’.

    The sale will include literature, first editions, sporting memorabilia, Republican material, pub memorabilia and a wide variety of lots to interest all collectors.

    The Leonard McGrath medal collection. UPDATE: LOT 304 SOLD FOR A HAMMER PRICE OF 28,500 OVER A TOP ESTIMATE OF 20,000.


    Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

    Memories of the goodwill shown by those working in the Irish theatre towards the arts in general and visual art in particular are contained in a lot at Fonsie Mealy’s Spring Rare Book Sale in Castlecomer on March 11. Lot 608 is a large Irish linen printed handkerchief sold by the Irish players at $1 towards a building for Sir Hugh Lane’s gift of paintings for Ireland. Dated April 1913 it is illustrated with a group scene of players and individual portraits, signed by W.B. Yeats, Lady Augusta Gregory and folded in its original envelope. The lot contains Irish plays by Yeats, Synge, William Boyle and Lady Gregory toured under the direction of Alfred Wareing in the summer of 1906. Consigned by Lady Gregory’s grand daughter Mrs. Catherine Kennedy, it is estimated at 250-350.

    A nephew of Lady Gregory, Sir Hugh Lane established Dublin’s Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, the first known public gallery of modern art in the world. He was among the victims of the Lusitania disaster in 1915.



    Sunday, March 8th, 2020

    There is history, travel, sporting memorabilia and much more at Fonsie Mealy’s Rare Book sale in Castlecomer on March 11.  The catalogue lists more than 900 lots covering a broad range of interests including literature, history, racing, an 1820 book on zoology from the library at Doneraile Court, folklore, local history and legends, maps, military history, postcards, sporting programmes and a miniature stamped sample of a hurley signed by Ollie Walsh. Travel may be going off the menu right now but the sale boasts a rare travel guide from the last days of the Georgian period.  The first English (1832) edition of Tour in England, Ireland and France in the years 1828-29 by the German nobleman Prince Hermann Ludwig Heinrich von Puckler-Muskau is estimated at €300-400. He observed the manners and customs of the inhabitants and offered anecdotes about distinguished public characters in a series of letters.

    A catalogue for the 1952 All Ireland Hurling Final between Cork and Dublin, the first of the Leesiders three in a row, has an estimate of €80-100. There is an estimate of €3,000-4,000 on a scrapbook of a collection of rugby material from Karl Mullen (1926-2009) regarded as Ireland’s first “professional” captain who won 25 caps between 1947-1952. There are news cuttings and tickets relating to Ireland’s 1948 Grand Slam and the 1950 Lions Tour to Australia and New Zealand, match programmes, action shots and pen pictures.There is about 60 boxed lots for foragers.  The catalogue is online.


    The Karl Mullen rugby archive


    Friday, March 6th, 2020

    A facsimile of The Book of Kells – the most precious illuminated manuscript of the early Middle Ages – is among the lots at Fonsie Mealy’s Spring rare book sale in Castlecomer on March 11. It is from the first and only complete fine art facsimile, a limited edition of 1,480 books published by authority of the Board of Trinity College, Dublin. Published by Verlag, Luzern it comes in a specially created presentation box and is estimated at 6,000-8,000. More than 900 lots will come under the hammer.



    Saturday, February 15th, 2020

    With everything from longcase clocks, a Russian icons and a Killarney wood bookstand the Making Room Sale by Fonsie Mealy on February 19 offers much of interest.  The sale at The Avalon House Hotel in Castlecomer is by way of being a clearout.  This no reserve auction will be of interest to bargain hunters, collectors, interior decorators and home owners. Lot 323 is a 19th century Killarney wood bookstand typically decorated and inlaid with shamrocks, harp and ruins and estimated at just €100-150. There are Crown Derby urns, Victorian button back sofas, barometers, a selection of clocks and all sorts of collectibles including lot 83, a 19th century Russian School icon on panel with an estimate of €700-1,000. 

    19th century Russian School icon . UPDATE: THIS MADE 420 AT HAMMER


    Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

    A set of signed First Editions by Cormac McCarthy from the collection of his late friend Dr. Philip Murray of Sligo made hammer prices of just under 40,000 at Fonsie Mealy’s rare books and manuscripts auction in Dublin today. There was 29 lots in total. An archive of letters and pre-publication copies by the Southern American novelist of Irish extraction, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and numerous other awards, made 7,000 on the hammer, a first edition of Blood Meridian signed and inscribed by the author made 4,200, a first UK edition together with an uncorrected proof of Outer Dark made 2,600 at hammer as did a signed and inscribed first edition of Suttree.

    The sale realised more than 350,000 on the hammer with 85% of lots finding buyers. The most expensive individual lot sold was The White Jug by Jack B Yeats which made 18,000 at hammer.

    (See post on for December 7, 2019)

    A signed archive complete with a photograph of Dr. Philip Murray and Cormac McCarthy in Sligo.


    Saturday, December 7th, 2019

    An illuminated 1667 Charles II Charter detailing property grants in Cork city, minutes from an 1802 meeting of the Dublin Wide Streets Commissioners, a first edition of Ulysses, Republican documents from 1922-24 and Yeats family memorabilia are among a fascinating array of lots at Fonsie Mealy’s rare book sale at the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan on December 10. The catalogue – in itself worthy of a long, slow browse because of all the avenues of exploration it opens up – list 842 lots.

    The sale includes the Cormac McCarthy collection of the recently deceased Dr. Philip Murray of Sligo which spans lot 712-740.  Dr. Murray, whose extraordinary collection of first editions made 275,000 at a Fonsie Mealy sale in 2016, maintained a friendship with the Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist, author and screenwriter and the catalogue contains a photo of the pair of them taken in Sligo.

    The catalogue cover is Edward Bunting’s 1840 work The Ancient Music of Ireland arranged for piano forte, there is a fascinating archive of almost 500 Quaker letters in Ireland between 1770 and 1830 and signed first editions by many famous authors. Lot 481 is John T. Gilbert’s 1874-1884 Account of Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of Ireland from the earliest specimens to AD 719 in  four volumes. It contains some documents which were destroyed when the Public Records Office was burned down in 1922. The illuminated Charles II Charter was published to satisfy demands of the 49 officers who served in the royalist army in Ireland, remained loyal to the king and were not granted lands by the Cromwellian government.  It lists property in Cork city  held by catholics in 1641, forfeited under Cromwell and now granted to the officers who petitioned. The Civil Survey for Cork City and County, apart from the barony of Muskerry, has not survived so this is a document of considerable interest.The focus of lot 566 is on another period. This is a compilation of Republican serparatist periodicals and leaflets 1922-24 bound in a single large volume.

    From the Yeats family there is a trunk owned by Jack B. Yeats and held in a bank vault containing personal memorabilia of his marriage of more than 50 years  including the shoes worn by Cottie to their wedding in 1894.  Among the other items in the trunk was The White Jug, an oil on canvas by Jack B. Yeats of a colourful garden scene (3,000-5,000). The auction ranges far and wide, from a signed copy of Brendan Behan’s Island to the first and only edition of The Ancient and Present State of Youghal by Thomas Lord, dated 1784 to the heraldic grants to the Delaval family of Seaton Delaval, Northumberland to the Yeats family copy of Hilary Pyle’s catalogue raisonne of the Yeats oil paintings.  

    UPDATE: The Charles II Charter made 2,000; the first edition of Ulysses sold for 12,000; Irish Republican documents made 11,000; Toome by Seamus Heaney, limited to 15 copies, made 11,000; the Cormac McCarthy archive made just under 40,000 on the hammer; The White Jug by Yeats made 18,000 and wedding anniversary memorabilia from Jack and Cottie Yeats made 4,000.

    Minutes from the trailblazing meetings of the Dublin Wide Streets Commissioners . UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 2,000 AT HAMMER