Over 100-year-old Irish Volunteers officer's tunic to be auctioned next month

Over 100-Year-Old Irish Volunteers Officer's Tunic To Be Auctioned Next Month
The tunic, of the same style worn by Michael Collins during the 1916 Rising, was found in an attic in Co Cork. Photo: supplied by Sarah Slater.
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Sarah Slater

An Irish Volunteer officer’s tunic dating back more than 100 years and even “more rare” than the Proclamation of Irish Independence is to go under the hammer next month.

Found in an attic in Co Cork, lot 87 in Mullen’s Collector’s Cabinet auction is a grey-green military tunic with dark green epaulettes and cuff facings, 'IV' harp buttons and two sets of three gilt shamrock rank badges on the cuffs.

It is a 1913-1916 Irish Volunteers captain’s tunic and probably fewer than half-a-dozen survive, which are mostly in museums. Michael Collins, who was a captain in the Irish Volunteers, would have worn a tunic similar to the lot up for sale during the 1916 Rising.

It was up to the individual volunteer to purchase their uniform and while wearing a uniform was not compulsory for volunteers it was for the officers. Officers' uniforms were sourced from one of the many military tailors in the cities and garrison towns which provided officers’ uniforms for the British Army.



Stuart Purcell, head of collectibles at the auction house said: “A tunic of this type is very rare- even more than the Proclamation of Irish Independence. The majority, of which it’s believed there are around six, are in museums so to have an item such as this to come to market by a private owner is amazing.

“An item such as this only comes to auction perhaps in a lifetime.”

The tunic is estimated to be worth from between €4,000-€6,000.

Among the 275 lots of Rare and Antiquarian books on offer in the Collector’s Cabinet auction is a rare copy of a 1997 first edition, second impression of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, identifiable by the number line on the edition page which runs ‘10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2’.

First editions of the first Harry Potter book are among the most sought-after collectible books in the world.

A first edition copy of JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Photo: supplied by Sarah Slater

Mr Purcell explained: "(This book) was bought by the vendor in a Dublin second-hand bookshop for €5. This copy is estimated at between €3,000-€5,000. “

The auction will also feature some 24 collectible books by Seamus Heaney. Most are signed by the Nobel Prize winning poet and many are rare, limited editions.

Lot 356 is a signed limited edition of North, of which only 25 copies were published, with an estimate of up to €600.

Lot 150, containing a RPG7 rocket launcher. Photo: supplied by Sarah Slater

Those who have an in interest in all things military is Lot 150 which includes a RPG7 rocket launcher. A Russian-made, shoulder-launched, anti-tank, rocket propelled grenade launcher, with Iraqi made trigger mechanism and serial number 6AW109114 with electronic optical sight which has been decommissioned.

Mr Purcell added: “The lot is from the private collection of Pat O’Hagan who is well known for his keen interest of military items. The lot is consistent with those used by both the Provisional IRA and the UDA in Northern Ireland from 1972-1998 and of a type supplied by Libya to the Provisional IRA.”

The lot is estimated to be worth up to €6,000, however, Mr Purcell pointed out that a similar lot was previously sold for €19,000.

The auction takes place on September 11th at 10am live and online.

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