Thursday, April 13, 2006

Irish Independent: National Museum hopes to gain from sale

National Museum hopes to gain from sale

Irish Independent
Thu, Apr 13 06

Eugene Molony

THE National Museum is hoping to fill gaps in its collection as a result of yesterday's auction of historical documents and artefacts.

National Museum Director Dr Pat Wallace said even if some items were bought privately it would "not be the end of the world" for the State as these would be likely to turn up again while others would be bought
by buyers with a view of presenting them to the State.

He said the National Library and the National Archive had also been interested in yesterday's sale while the museum's aim had been to acquire items which could fill gaps inits collections and which would
be suitable for display.

While the sale of the first draft of the national anthem, sold to an anonymous bidder last night for €760,000, was one of the highlights of the day there were many other historically important pieces under the hammer.

Yesterday's sale was in two parts with most of the smaller items such as postcards, letters, medals and books being sold as part of an auction which got underway at 11.30am.

It was during the morning auction that two members of Sinn Fein's youth wing Ogra Sinn Fein were arrested following minor scuffles during a protest at the sale going ahead.

Ogra Sinn Fein members had been joined in their protest by members of Tara Watch which is involved in a legal action against the State over the Hill of Tara and the M3 motorway.

"What self-respecting State can spend €3m a day on roads, and not even €1m for its own national heirlooms," said Tara Watch member Vincent Salafia.

The 'Independence Sale' ad been advertised as the most important sale of Irish historical documents ever held. It featured 480 lots of previously unseen artefacts which chart Ireland's struggle for independence - from the spark of 1798 right through to the declaration of the Irish Free State.

Other items included an original Proclamation of Independence dating to the Easter Rising in 1916, the original drawings for the design of the GPO, the telegram confirming Ireland's Free state status, Michael Collins's Sinn Fein membership card and previously unknown documents from Padraig Pearse, Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera as well as Thomas Clarke's last letter.

Members of Sinn Fein youth entered the auction rooms yesterday and distributed leaflets opposing the sale.


Gone for a song . . . mystery buyer pays €¾m for anthem

Eugene Moloney

Irish Independent
Thu, Apr 13 06

MYSTERY last night surrounded the identity of the new owner of the first draft of the National Anthem after it was sold at a packed Dublin auction for €760,000.

Amhran Na bhFiann (the Soldier's Song), written in advance of the 1916 Rising, was bought by a telephone bidder.

There was a buzz of anticipation at Adam's auction house when the document, containing the words of the anthem, went up for sale.

"Anything I could say about this would be superfluous. On offer today is the National Anthem of Ireland," said auctioneer Foinsie Mealy.

However, Mr Mealy's attempt to start the bidding at €1m drew no response from the audience or the telephone bidders and he dropped the starting price to €500,000. It rose steadily up to €600,000 and then
€700,000 before being sold for €760,000 to an anonymous telephone bidder.

The draft had a guide price of between €800,000 and €1.2m.




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