Walking stick owned by Michael Collins to go under the hammer

Walking stick owned by Michael Collins to go under the hammer

A WALKING stick owned by Irish revolutionary and politician Michael Collins is to go under the hammer early next month for an estimated €3,000-€5,000.

Lot 709, 'A Gift from 'The Big Fellow', of Fonsie Mealy's Christmas Rare Books & Collectors' Sale is described as containing the stick along with a blue folder with associated items relating to Patrick Baker, who was a barman at the Gresham Hotel.

The walking stick was carried by Collins as part of his attire to blend in with the gentleman folk that would frequent the hotel, and other venues throughout Dublin.

He gifted it to Baker in 1920 as thanks for his failing to identify Collins to British soldiers who came to the hotel seeking him.

"The stick being of robust form, would presumably have been employed by Collins to protect his person should he have been identified by the authorities," the Fonsie Mealy website says.

The stick is a made from a heavy ebonised wood from the 19th century, is 34" in length and has a worn silver plated head.

The accompanied letters detail the entire story of the stick and how it was gifted by Collins to Baker, and includes an original menu from Jammets Restaurant where he was later head waiter.

Recently, another walking stick belonging to Collins sold in Belfast for £52,000, a price five times higher than that expected by auctioneers.

Other items that will go under the hammer include Belfast Distillery Football & Athletics Club's Minute Book from 1932 to 1941.

The book documents the years of WWII, and from September 1939 onward there is occasional references to war conditions, availability of players who may have returned from England, petrol rationing and air raids in the city. It's value is estimated at €1000 - €1500.

Lot 434, 'A Magic Moment in Munster Rugby', an original official match programme for Munster v New Zealand at Thomond Park from 1978, is also for sale for an estimated €700 - €900.

The match was a watershed moment in Irish rugby history, with the All-Blacks being conquered by Munster on a score line of 12-0.

The items, and many more, are available to view on www.fonsiemealy.ie, with the auction taking place on 7-8 December.