Category Archives: Archived Book Auctions

Auction scene coming back to life…

With the Covid-19 restrictions likely to remain in place for at least the next couple of months it’s good to see auctioneers not letting the situation get on top of them. I’m glad to report that I currently have no less than four auctions listed with a further two confirmed and due shortly.

Online auctions are not to everybody’s taste and I certainly preferred the old days when it was advisable to at least attend a viewing, and preferably the auction itself. However, those days are gone for good and there’s no going back no matter how much some of us would like. That is not to say that when the present crisis is over we won’t see a return to viewing and attending auctions but only a fool will ignore the increasing role of the internet. Online is the future and while that gives vendors a better chance of getting a good price for their items it makes it a lot harder for the buyer to pick up a bargain.

The quality of online catalogues has greatly improved especially on the main platforms such as Easy Live and The, and photographs/descriptions etc. have also come on a lot recently. The technology is easy for the buyer to use, still relatively cheap and the message out there to salerooms is adapt or die.

First up is Aidan Foley’s (Sixmilebridge) two-day sale on the 13th/14th April with Day.1. a must for music fans and features the record collection of Lyric FM’s Lorcan Murray and Day.2. has Art, Furniture, Antiques and Carpets.

Lot.87.”Thin Lizzy tour poster” – Est: €150/200.

Morgan O’Driscoll’s Irish & International Art Sale with 159 Lots (including many big names) is on the 14th April.

Lot.19. “Celtic Cross in a West of Ireland Landscape” oil on board by Paul Henry – Est: €150,000/250,000.

Matthews of Oldcastle, Co.Meath – also on the 14th April – features Jewellery, Gold, Silver, Watches, Oriental & Other Objects of Virtue. 390 Lots.

Finally, on the 22nd April, Purcell’s of Birr, are holding a sale of Irish Historical Interest Books, Maps, Journals, Periodicals, Pamphlets, Ephemera – almost 600 Lots.

Something for everyone – check the auctions page here:  AUCTIONS


Dublin Book Fair – October 6th & 7th , 2012

Sorry for the late listing of this Fair – I only read about it in today’s paper! Not my fault if the organisers can’t be bothered to do a rudimentary internet search to see where they could list.


Full details here:

Mealy’s (Dublin) July Sale of the Fred Hanna Collection beats all superlatives!

Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers – Fine Art & Rare Book Auctions,

The Old Cinema, Chatsworth Street, Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny


Fred Hanna and his wonderful bookshop on Nassau Street were a Dublin institution, and its passing and that of Fred himself, earlier this year, are deeply regretted. Many of you will want to attend this sale and purchase a copy of the superb catalogue just as a keepsake of the occasion! I could use all the usual cliches to describe this sale but this one will do ‘there’s something for everybody here” and there truly is. Estimates are very reasonable but as there are some seriously rare items here you can expect to pay top dollar – recession or not!

Amongst those items that caught my eye were Lot.74. A signed copy of “The Way that I went” by Robert Lloyd Praeger – Est.€200/€300; the rare Taylor & Skinner “Maps of the Roads of Ireland” pub.1778 and hard to find one that has been broken down by map dealers – Est.€700/€1,000; a signed copy of Flora Mitchell’s “Vanishing Dublin” – another book that dealers break down – Est.€400 -€600; Lot.462. “The Commitments” by Roddy Doyle (1st edition) – Est.€400/€600; Lot.608. the ultra rare “Migration of Birds as observed at Irish Lighthouses etc.” by RM Barrington – Est.€800/€1,200 – and finally Lot.502.  an incredibly rare piece of ephemera – a ticket for Mr.Charles Dickens’s Farewell Readings, Belfast, January 1869 (he died the following June) – Est.€180/250.

On: Tuesday 19th July, 2011 at 11.30am sharp!

At: The Berkeley Court (D4) Hotel, Lansdowne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin.4.

Viewing details see Auction page.

Online (searchable) catalogue here:

Online pdf catalogue here:

National College of Ireland (IFSC) Docklands – Three day Book Sale – 26th/28th May, 2011

Mealy’s Rare Book Sale brings out the buyers!

Joyce and Sean O’Casey amongst the star items!

Mealy’s Rare Book Sale which was held on December 14th, 2010 at the Berkeley Court (D4) Hotel in Ballsbridge achieved some strong results with the highest price (€15,000) being paid for Lot.671. a signed, limited edition volume by James Joyce, with the next highest (€10,500) going for Lot.585. a bound volume of hand-coloured Caricatures by early 19th century artists including the notoriously anti-Irish George Cruickshank, and (€10,000) for Lot.537 a collection of letters written by Sean O’Casey. Hopefully the latter were acquired by the National Library who, according to the Irish Times, were amongst the buyers at the sale.

Some detail from the catalogue description here – worth the read – for me anyway.

Important Collection of Sean O’Casey Letters
O’Casey (Sean)
A very good series of eight wartime Letters (two TLS, six ALS) to Mrs. Louise Heppell of Newcastle-on-Tyne, November 1942 to December 1944, mostly on O’Casey’s headed paper, with associated envelopes, and with programmes for two performances of O’Casey’s ‘Juno and the Paycock.’
An interesting correspondence, which apparently began when Mrs. Heppell enquired about terms for an amateur production of O’Casey’s one act comedy The End of the Beginning. The first letter (November 17th 1942) includes an account of O’Casey’s early life and writing, perhaps intended for a programme note. ‘I was born in Dublin more than sixty years ago. I had a hard time of it in association with thousands of others, wanting food, often, and seldom getting it. There was no manna to be gathered anywhere then. I go no education; I learned myself all I know, which is damned little, and am still working to try to make up the deficiency. When I got to fourteen years of age, I started work in a big general Dublin store for 3/6 week… I became an out-of-door labourer helping at building, drainage and so on, all the time buying a book now and again out of what I could spare. Finally, an Irish Club of which I was a member, started a Dramatic Class, and I wrote a play for them. They wouldn’t touch it, so I sent it to the Abbey Theatre. They touched it, but didn’t think it good enough for production. So I went on till I got one good enough (or so they said) to put on their stage, and ended by causing a row as big as the one that foamed around Synge’s PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD. Most of my plays have caused some trouble since..’
O’Casey mentions his current work in other letters, ‘I am writing, trying to, another volume of ‘biography’ & am jotting down notes for a possible play. I have written some things for Soviet magazines – I have been in close touch with Soviet theatre and literary activities for ten or twelve years; & I write an occasional article for the Daily Worker.. I hope this year may see the end of Hitler, so that we may begin to build another country in earnest.’ (1 Jan. 1944).
There are comments on his family life, with his three children aged between 4 and 15. ‘I and the missus have to do everything ourselves now; and it means a continuous go from early morn till late at night, so that I can’t think of my own work till 10 o’c. when they are all abed. i usually stay up till 2 a.m.’ (1 Jan. 1944). He refers to his poor health – ‘My eyes, of course, will never be better than they are; but on the whole they have served me well, seeing more, often, than others that are vigorous and keen’ – and to the wartime bombing, ‘Plymouth got a very bad raking indeed – perhaps the worst in the country. Our little town got a shake up recently, the shops and buildings show signs of being badly gashed.’ (8 Dec. 1942).
The envelopes have all been reused by O’Casey using addressed labels – a typical wartime economy. Mrs. Heppell’s replies are not present.
This is a substantial and interesting correspondence, which gives a good impression of O’Casey’s frame of mind through the darkest days of the war. If he wished, O’Casey could have returned to Dublin, but he chose to remain in the small Devon town where he had found a haven, and to share the hardships of its people. (1)

Full realisation list here:

Whyte’s Dublin Sale of History, Literature & Collectibles – Sat.13th November

Just a reminder, as if you could forget with all the hype surrounding it, that Whyte’s sale is on this coming Saturday.

Auction: Saturday 13th November 2010 at 1pm

Viewing: Wednesday to Friday 10-12 November, 10am-6pm; Saturday 13 November 9.30am-12 noon.
Venue: Viewing at Whyte’s Molesworth Street Galleries; auction at Freemasons Hall, Molesworth Street.

An eclectic collection of Irish manuscripts, books, historical prints, photographs, posters, memorabilia, coins, banknotes, medals and militaria, from 1010AD to 2010AD

Includes rare flags and banners such as 1867 Fenian Rising, 1898 Land League, 1914-21 Irish Volunteers and 1944 Wehrmacht, weapons and medals from the 1916-21 War of Independence, 1798 Rebellion manuscript, letters and manuscripts of Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stuart Parnell, Liam Lynch, Mussolini, Irish regiments in the British Army militaria, 1688-1691 collection of James II “Gunmoney” from the Williamite Wars  and other coins from 1014 AD to the 20th century, Irish sporting memorabilia including 1901 Bohemians v Preston programme, GAA and rugby medals etc., collection of Irish and British banknotes, 1814 to 1960s, 571 lots, estimates €100 to €50,000.

Full report including video link further down this page. You won’t want to miss this one!

Whyte’s, Dublin Sale – History, Literature & Collectibles – Sun.13th November, 2010

Whyte’s Auctions,

38, Molesworth Street, Dublin.2.

Tel: (+353) (0)1 676 2888


On: Saturday 13th November, 2010 at 1pm

At: The Freemasons Hall, 17 Molesworth Street, Dublin.2.


572 lots – including: Historical manuscripts, documents, photographs and ephemera,

Theatre and Cinema, Advertising Ephemera, Sport, Antiquarian and Collectable Books, Coins and Tokens, Banknotes.

Online catalogue here:

TV3 News report here:

Fenian flag from 1867 - estimate €30-50,000. Don't buy it if you have moths!

Viewing: At Whyte’s Galleries, 38 Molesworth Street, Dublin.2.

Wednesday 10th Nov. 10am – 6pm

Thursday 11th Nov. 10am – 6pm

Friday 12th Nov. 10am – 6pm

Saturday 13th Nov. 9.30am – 12noon

After a trawl through the fascinating catalogue this morning I am left stunned by the amount of new material that keeps on appearing at these sales. This catalogue spans Irish history from 1015 (!) to almost the present day and there is something here for every collector. Amongst the things that caught my eye was Lot.23 – A set of 1798 lead soldiers (circa 1970) “Soldiers in miniature – The Rebels” – Est.€200-300,  some particular fine examples of 1689/90 ‘gun money

Gun Money – produced to pay troops during the Williamite War in Ireland 1689-91

and Lot.5 1655. A Cromwellian Soldier sells his grant of land in Ireland (manuscript)

“J. Morris Fitzgerald late soldier in Coll. Henry Perkins own troops “ selling his land to Robert Browne. The original grant was in 1651, witnessed by Humphrey Butler, Samuel Conaley and John Magher. With signature and seal of Maurice Fitzgerald. €300-€400 (£260-£350 approx.) – the origins of my own family in Ireland.

Other lots include a vast array of antiquarian books, medals, flags, political ephemera, firearms, swords, uniforms, IRA/UVF memorabilia, RIC, British Army, photographs, ephemera from the H-Blocks, coins, banknotes, and GAA/Rugby and Soccer medals/programmes etc. Hopefully some of the material will end up in museum collections.

Purcell’s Irish Book Sale, Birr, Co.Offaly – Thurs.7th October

Purcell Auctioneers, Green Street, Birr, Co.Offaly

(057) 9120 270


On: Thursday 7th October 2010.

Starts at 6.30 pm.

Tuesday 10am-6pm; Weds 10am-8pm and Thurs.10am-6pm.

Private collection of Irish interest books including travel, local history, reference, plus 1st editions and many rare items.

Amongst the many interesting lots I discovered a copy of the elusive Taylor and Skinner’s Road Maps of Ireland first published in 1777– the copy included in this sale is the 3rd edition a 1960s reprint but almost as hard to find as the original.

A hand coloured map from the 1st edition. As far as I can remember the reprint only has uncoloured maps.

Catalogue online here:

Dublin Book Fair – 17th/18th September 2010

Not to be confused with the Dublin City Book Fair, this event takes place at the Freemasons’ Hall on Molesworth Street. It runs from 12 Noon – 7pm on Friday 17th and from 10am – 5pm on Saturday 18th.

Further information available here:

To keep things simple here is a list of those dealers attending and their specialities:

Mealy’s Rare Book Sale, Castlecomer, 29th July 2010

Rare Books, Irish Literary Items
Sporting & Collectors’ Sale
Mealys Auction Rooms,
Co. Kilkenny.

Tel: +353 (0)56 44 41229
+353 (0)56 44 00942
+353 (0)56 44 00943

Fax: +353 (0)56 4441627


Full illustrated catalogue online here:

I had a scroll through the catalogue and there is a bit of everything – including rare Irish interest books, signed editions, sporting programmes for GAA/Rugby etc, modern film posters, coins/banknotes etc. Well worth looking through the catalogue. Also worth noting that Mealy’s buyers premium is now 20% incl.VAT!