A WALKING stick belonging to General Michael Collins has sold at an auction in Belfast for £52,000 (approx €60,000).
Up for sale at Bloomfield auction house in Belfast, the walking stick, the second of its kind to come to market in the last two years, had a price of £11,000 as an estimate before the bidding began.
There was huge interest both online and from phone bidders.
The winning bid was made over the phone and while the purchaser’s identity is not yet known, it is believed to be a buyer from the Republic.
Bloomfield auctioneer Karl Bennett said he had the names of the families involved with ownership of the Collins stick, and was certain it was a genuine artefact, with a letter gifting the stick on, and proving its provenance as part of the lot.
‘The current owner just felt it was now time to move it on and that it was important that it go to the right place or the right person who’s going to exhibit it and tell the story of the man behind it,’ Mr Bennett said.
Michael Collins was often photographed in the uniform of a General of the Free State Army, carrying a similar stick.
This sale comes just two years after another walking stick fetched €11,000 at deVeres in Dublin.
The original estimate for the walking stick at the Dublin auction was between €2,000 and €4,000.
The walking stick sold in Dublin was reportedly gifted by the famous West Cork man to his driver John (Jack) Cormack, after Jack was wounded in the hand and leg during an ambush in 1921 during the Civil War.
Fine Gael senator Tim Lombard told The Southern Star that he would like to see the General’s walking sticks on display in West Cork. ‘There would be no better place for them to be housed than in Michael Collins House, a museum in Clonakilty dedicated to the Irish patriot, where they could be displayed fittingly in the county where he was born and tragically killed at the age of 31,’ Sen Lombard said.
‘I believe there is huge benefit in having these items in public ownership, given they are an integral part of our history and should be available for all to see. Michael Collins is such an important historical figure and a legend in so many ways, particularly in Cork, and we must do everything we can to maintain his legacy and reputation.’
One can only wonder if there are still more walking sticks out there that belonged to ‘the Big Fella’.