Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers

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Chatsworth Street,
Co. Killkenny,
R95 XV05,

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Press Release                                                                                                May 2017

An Auction of Rare Books, Literature, Manuscripts & Sporting Collectibles

30th May – Tara Towers Hotel, Dublin

Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers will conduct an auction comprising over 800 lots on May, 30th . The auction will take place at the Tara Towers Hotel, Dublin 4.

To include Modern Irish, English, & International Literature; First Editions, Signed & Association Copies, Periodicals, Photographs; together with a Rare Collection of G.A.A. and other Sporting Memorabilia.

First Editions for Box Office Irish writers such as Joyce, Flann O’Brien, Kavanagh, Yeats  and others, too many to mention, formed from two private Irish Collections, is being offered for sale by Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers.

For collectors of James Joyce material there is an array of First & Signed Editions. A unique item in the literary section is an original signed manuscript by James Joyce. The manuscript is from the opening sequence of Anna Livia Plurabelle (lot 443 €8,000 – 10,000) from Finnegans Wake and is one of the principal highlights of the sale. Another Joycean collectible is a rare recording of Joyce reading Anna Livia Plurabelle (lot 578 €400 – 600). Joyce is also represented by important first editions such as ‘Chamber Music’ (lot 243 €350 – 450, ‘Portrait of an Artist as a Young Boy’ which is about Joyces school days (lot 571 €3000 – 4000), Dubliners (lot 192 €350 – 450) and others.

William Butler Yeats is another Literary Great represented in this with his first work ‘Mosada’ It is thought that only 500 copies were printed, of which very few can have survived in anything like this condition. Given that Mosada is completely unobtainable, this must be the foundation stone of any major Yeats collection (lot 550 €3500 – 5000). Also featured is Lady Gregory’s personal copy of Yeats’ ‘Poems written in discouragement’, one of only 50 copies & even more rare it is signed Yeats himself, and with her bookplate is estimated at €2500 – €4000 (lot 553).

Two modern Irish writers who started their careers from humble beginnings and made their mark in Dublin initially and then internationally are the satirist Flann O’Brien, and the poet and author – Patrick Kavanagh. Flann O’Briens most famous work ‘At Swim Two Birds’ (lot 110 €1750 – 2500) is being offered for sale. The exceedingly rare author’s first novel, most of which were destroyed in the 1940’s German Blitz of London and was described as Graham Greene as ‘It is a book in a thousand’ is indeed a rarity. One of the sale’s highlights is a highly important and unique collection, which includes intriguing examples of his later work, much of it unpublished and unperformed; and information about the sometimes distressing circumstances of his later years, after he was required to resign from the Civil Service, and so to had make his living as a writer. Lot 608 €6000 – 8000. Two personal mementos from the author’s life are his Bureau Bookcase (lot 609 €700 – 1000) where he typed many stories late into the night, and also his supportive walking aid (lot 610 €350 – 400).

Patrick Kavanagh’s first novel – ‘The Green Fool’ (lot 269) is for sale with an estimate of €1000 – 1500. Controversially the First Edition was suppressed due to a libel threat by Oliver St. John Gogarty against Kavanagh, over derogatory remarks that Kavanagh made about his wife. The one for sale is a First Edition, First Issue with orginal dustjacket. Other first signed editions including ‘A Ploughman’ and other poems.

For Espionage enthusiasts there is a signed first edition of ‘The Spy who came in from the cold’ by John le Carre. Collectors of children books will have ample choice from the selection offered for sale. There are a number of Harry Potter editions some of which are signed by the cast and author (Lot 95 €600 – 800). Renowned children’s author Beatrix Potter is represented in the sale. There is a set of four from the early 1900’s including ‘Two Blind Mice’ and ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’, with an estimate of €600 – 800 (lot 97).

Extremely rare G.A.A. and other sporting memorabilia are included in the sale. County Laois’ first and only All-Ireland Hurling medal from 1915 comes under the hammer for the first time with a pre-sale of €7000 – 10000 (lot 891). Having been beaten by Clare the previous year on a scoreline of 5-1 to 1.0, the Laois men gathered their thoughts and regrouped to reach another final. Under the Captaincy of Jack Finlay, they beat the Lee-siders on October 24th, 1915 claiming their first and only Title, winning 6.2 to 4.1..

Lot 884 is an important County Louth G.A.A. Medal Collection of Twelve Medals Awarded to Johnny Brennan.). By the time of Brennan’s retirement in 1916, the playing structure of the GAA as we know it today was decided upon. Apparently Louth in this period were one of the fnest exponents of the GAA game. Louth at this time played many exhibition matches, teaching the many skills of the game such as dribbling, free taking etc to other counties. €15,000 – 20,000.

Other G.A.A memorabilia include official match programmes from 1930’s to 1950’s, a match ticket from the tragic football match in 1920 known as ‘Bloody Sunday (lot 885 €600 – 700), miniatures of the Sam Maguire and Liam McCarthy cups both approx €150 – 200, the rugby ball from 1948 grand slam winning match between Ireland and Wales in 1978 (lot 871 €700 – 900), and the programme from the day Munster conquered the All-Blacks in Thomand Park 1978 (lot 870 €350 – 450).

Speaking about the auction, George Fonsie Mealy, Director of Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers said, “This is one of the most important collections of Irish & General Literature, Manuscripts, and Sporting Memorabilia to come on the market in recent years”.