High-profile items related or belonging to Irish revolutionary Michael Collins will include a rare farriery book, Farrier Improv’d: Or, A Compleat Treatise Upon the Art of Farriery.
Collins was a major figure in Ireland’s struggle for independence from Britain in the early 1900s. Auctions including items related to him and the 1916 Easter Rising can attract major interest and sell at high prices, according to The Irish Times.
The farriery book, written by Henry Bracken and originally published in London in 1738, is collectable. On its title page, its subject is summarized: “The nature, structure and mechanism of that noble and useful creature, a horse, the diseases and accidents he is liable to, and the methods of cure.”
Sheppard’s, the auction house handling the auction, explains that Collins may have visited used book stores in Charing Cross Road and found the book to give as a gift to his friend, Mac Eoin.
Eoin, referred to as the Blacksmith of Ballinalee, was also a member in the Irish resistance. One of his letters, dated 1962, confirms that Collins gave him the book “when he returned from Treaty Talks in London in ’21.”
Sheppard’s estimates that even though the book is an eighth edition, it will garner between €4,000-€6,000 (roughly between $4900-$7500).
The auction’s other big ticket item is a metal cross that was reportedly placed at exact location where Collins died as a temporary memorial. The cross was also in Eoin’s possession.
According to the letter accompanying the cross, he was given it and asked to “Keep it [the cross] safe and well and pass it on to future generations so they will never forget a great man and brave comrade and a true and hearty friend. God bless Michael and Ireland.”
The items came from a collection purchased at a house auction. The house had once been home to Kitty Cronin, who was Collins’ fiancée when he died.
The auction will take place in May.