Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers

The Old Cinema,
Chatsworth Street,
Co. Killkenny,
R95 XV05,

PSRA Registration No: 001687

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Lot 1256/0217

Estimate: €3500-5000

“Collins Will Stop at Nothing”
Collins (Michael).
A typescript Card, circa 5″ x 8″ (13cms x 20cms), bearing a Photograph of Collins circa 1919, headed ‘Michael Collins, Chief of I.R.A. & organizer of all ambushes and murders,’ giving his description (‘Age about 30 / Eyes dark & sharp / Mouth large & drooping / Nose thick / Ears long Build slim / Height 5’7″ or 8″). With Remarks: ‘Often wears the disguise of a Priest. / He sometimes wears a black moustache, which is false, and often changed for another colour. / He has been known to travel as a nun. / Collins, who will stop at nothing, is an expert shot.’
The origin of this item is unknown, but we believe it to be genuine. It was found by a previous owner folded into a copy of Beaslai’s biography of Collins. The photograph, apparently a rephotographed snapshot, is a good likeness. It is likely that the card was formerly in the possession of a British intelligence officer, possibly a member of the ‘Auxies’. It is particularly interesting in view of the often-expressed view that the British did not have a good photograph of Collins.
See John Mc Guiggan’s article in History Ireland, v. 19 No. 4, July / August 2011 (copy supplied), where he identifies the photo as part of a group shot taken of members of the First Dail, April 1919, and concludes that ‘in all probability’ the card is genuine and possibly unique, dating from circa 1920. (1)

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