A WALKING stick which once belonged to Irish revolutionary Michael Collins has sold for an incredible £52,000 at auction.
Bloomfield Auctions, based in Belfast, recently acquired the antique and put it up for auction this week.
The auctioneers told The Irish Post last week that the walking stick had been in the "possession of a gentleman for over 40 years", and was expected to fetch over £10,000 when auctioned off.
Incredibly, the silver-mounted stick-- complete with a handwritten letter which proves it belonged to the Irish hero-- has sold for five times the expected amount.
Auctioneer Karl Bennett had expected the walking stick to fetch a high price, thanks in part to Collins' legendary standing among Irish Republicans, and the recent centenaries in Irish history causing a rise in interest in the iconic figure, but the final figure is astonishing.
According to RTÉ News, a phone bidder from the Republic of Ireland bought the walking stick for £52,000/ €60,000 plus fees-- an all-time record for the Belfast-based auctioneers.
The stick is believed to have been bought by an organisation in the Republic, whose identity has not yet been revealed, and it is hoped the walking stick will go on display to the public in the near future, rather than remaining in the home of a private collector.
Bloomfield Auctions also sold a number of other artefacts related to Irish history, including a service medal from the 1916 Easter Rising and police files tracking Michael Collins's movements when he was a threat to British authorities during Ireland's War of Independence.
The auction house has a wide array of Irish and British artefacts, including items relating to the Orange Order of Northern Ireland and Irish Republican artefacts.
You can check their listings on the website here.