A LOCK of hair belonging to the Irish literary icon Oscar Wilde is set to go under the hammer in Kilkenny next month.
The item will feature in Fonsie Mealy’s Rare Book and Collectors’ Sale on December 12 and 13.
Previously owned by the writer’s son, it was gifted to Irish actor Michael Mac Liammoir in 1960 after the first London performance of his pioneering one-man show The Importance of Being Oscar, which he compiled from Wilde’s writings.
Wilde’s son, Vyvyan Holland, then aged 74, was present at that premiere and came backstage after the show, told Mac Liammóir he had been moved by the performance and presented him with a lock of his father’s hair.
The present owner acquired the item at a Fonsie Mealy’s auction in December 2007, and has kept it unopened since then, the auctioneers have confirmed.
Presented in Mealy’s sealed custom made box, also containing a manuscript note reading ‘Piece of Oscar Wilde’s hair/Very important’, in Mac Liammoir’s hand, the item will be sold with a range of items, including a copy of the actor's published script from 1963 and a selection of eight publicity photographs of the actor in various roles, from his own collection, some which he has inscribed.
The lot is expected to fetch between €6,000 - €8,000 when it goes under the hammer.
Elsewhere in the sale, which takes place at Fonsie Mealy’s Auction Rooms in Castlecomer, a Collection of Irish Literature, including works by Yeats and Heaney, will be up for grabs.
Important 1916 documents, including a rare copy of the Irish War News – the only other document apart from the Proclamation printed during the Irish insurrection of 1916 - are also among the auction lots.
Various GAA medals and memorabilia will also be sold, including Dublin’s First All-Ireland winners medal (Lot 984); Galway’s First National League All-Ireland & Croke Cup Hurling Champions 1898 medal and a ticket from the Bloody Sunday match between Tipperary and Dublin at Croke Park on Sunday, November 21, 1920, which saw British soldiers open fire on the pitch and crowd, killing a player and twelve spectators.
There are 1100 lots up for grabs next month, with bidders able to attend in person or participate online.
Bids can be made for the Live Auction through easyliveauction.com or the-saleroom.com or by arranging for absentee or telephone bids.
For more information about the auction contact 00 353 56 4441229 or email on [email protected]