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Whyte's forthcoming auction of History & Literture will comprise over 300 lots
1807 Document signed by Napoleon Bonaparte. Estimate €1,500-€2,000 £1100-£1470.


DUBLIN.- Henry Grattan, the great Irish parliamentarian is commemorated by a statue on the left of Dublin’s Parliament Building, hidden among trees which was erected in 1775. He is portrayed mid-speech, remembering is gifts as Irish a “superb orator – nervous, high-flown, romantic”.

Lot 100 in Whyte’s History, Literature and Collectibles auction is an Irish silver trowel engraved to William Murphy "Presented by the Grattan Statue Committee to William Murphy Architect in acknowledgement of his Valuable Services in the erection of the Grattan pedestal and statue 1875"

William Martin Murphy (1845-1919) trained as an architect and moved his father's contracting business from Bantry to Dublin in the 1870s. He became a director of the Dublin United Tramways Company and spearheaded the electrification of Dublin's trams.

In addition to his contracting activities Murphy was a co-founder of the Dublin department store, Clery & Co. and the proprietor of the Independent, Evening Herald and Irish Catholic newspapers. He was Member of Parliament for the St Patrick's division of Dublin from 1885 until 1892. He was the originator and chief promoter of the Irish International Exhibition of 1907 but refused a knighthood from Edward VII in the same year. Murphy was one of the chief opponents of the workers during the Dublin strike of 1913 and also strongly opposed the 1916 Rising. Estimate €800-€1,200.

Dynamite Sunday
from January 1881 to January 1885 the Fenians mounted a bombing campaign using Alferd Nobel’s newly invented dynamite in British urban centres and aboard public transport. In what must have been a 19th century 9/11 for Londoners, the campaign climaxed in the successful detonation of near-simultaneous explosions in the Tower of London, Westminster Crypt and the Chamber of the House of Commons on 24 January 1885 in an event immortalised as ‘Dynamite Saturday’.

The explosion in the House of Commons caused extensive damage to the Chamber and the Division Corridor. Lot 106 in Whyte’s History, Literature and Collectibles auction is a fragment of the door to the Division Corridor, destroyed in the explosion, estimate €150-€200.

World War I
Whyte’s auction of History, Literature and Collectibles includes a fascinating collection of First World War recruiting posters designed for use in Ireland. They encourage, shame, cajole and threaten Irishmen to join up, citing acts of shocking barbarity on the part of the Germans and the promise of a place among nations for Ireland. Lots 155 to 163 have estimates ranging €150-€300.

Dublin Fusiliers bearskin
The bearskin must count as one of the most impractical articles of headgear ever designed for warfare but that didn’t stop regiment after regiment adopting it as part of their uniform. The Royal Dublin Fusiliers were no different. Lot 151 is a Royal Dublin Fusiliers officer's bearskin and case. The cylindrical tin travel case has a hinged door and removable hat stand, and the top is marked "C. H. L'E. West - Royal Dublin Fusiliers". Various address labels include "Mount Offaly, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland" and "Royal Dublin Fusiliers, Milton Barracks, Graveshead".

Lieutenant Cecil Hartley L'Estrange West was captured by German forces near Cambrai, in North-West France in August 1914; it isn’t recorded whether he was wearing his bearskin or a metal helmet. Estimate €800-1,200.

1916 Rising
Until recently, there was little appetite for exploring the stories of the forces opposing the Rising. Many collectors today, however, try to represent a full picture of what unfolded in their collections and, consequently, the demand for objects relating to the Crown forces of 1916 is on the increase. Whyte’s forthcoming History Literature and Collectibles Auction in October will include a number of very rare objects associated with the forces of the Crown which engaged in suppressing the Easter Rising.

Possibly the rarest medal awarded to a combatant in the 1916 Rising yet to appear at auction will be offered in Whyte’s auction in October.

Whyte’s will offer a previously unrecorded medal awarded to a part-time soldier of the St Andrews Volunteer Training Corps inscribed, "Presented - To - F. C. Stephens. For services rendered at Beggar's Bush Barracks during rebellion 1916"

Frederick Stephens was a 42 year old bookseller from Terenure, who was a member of the St Andrews Training Corps, a company of part time soldiers who were former pupils and friends of St Andrews secondary school. They were over the military age limit of 38 years old and their uniform badges carried the words “Georgius Rex” so, they became universally known as the “Gorgeous Wrecks” or the “G.R.s”. They assembled regularly for drilling and training and occasionally for larger exercises.

Just after dawn on Easter Monday, 1916, Stephens was one of 120 men of the 1st (Dublin) Battalion who marched to Ticknock Woods where they took part in field exercises. Early that afternoon news reached them that Dublin was in a state of revolt so the Battalion marched back to Ballsbridge in an hour and twenty minutes wearing uniforms and carrying rifles but with no ammunition. As they approached Beggar’s Bush Barracks they came under fire from the railway bridge across Bath Avenue. A small group got inside the Barracks but one, Lance Corporal Clery, was fatally wounded. The main body of men made their way around the back of the barracks and climbed the wall to get inside.

Once inside the barracks they were under continuous sniping and the garrison was effectively pinned inside for the week, reduced to half rations. An attempt was made by the garrison to assault the railway embankment and bridge but de Valera’s men were too well entrenched and drove them back killing one NCO. In all five G.R.s were killed over the course of the week.

On Saturday 6 May, sixteen days after they marched into combat in the Rising, the Dublin Volunteer Training Corps were reviewed in College Park by General Maxwell and various dignitaries. It isn’t clear whether the medals were awarded at this review or at a later date but photographs suggest a festival atmosphere and a fair degree of triumphalism. The medal is lot 185, estimate €3,000-€5,000.

1916 Rising: The Defence of Trinity College
On 24 April, 1916 when gunfire erupted at various locations across Dublin, the gates of Trinity College were closed and locked and all available members of the OTC were deployed around the perimeter and on the rooftops. For the week of the Easter Rising, the OTC assisted by regular British Army troops and a group of 14 ‘Colonial’ soldiers from Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand defended the College. Their presence may or may not have saved the College from incursion by Irish Volunteers, but it almost certainly saved the businesses surrounding it from looting, damage or destruction. It was these businesses – including Whyte & Sons - who funded the purchase of two large silver cups and 138 miniature replica cups from West & Co., Grafton Street to present to the OTC and its members. The miniature cups stand only 3½” tall, are hallmarked for Dublin, 1916, by West & Co. and engraved with the recipient’s name.

Lot 186 is a Defence of Trinity College cup awarded to Cadet George J. Mathews, Dublin University Officer Training Corps and is offered with three curfew passes, dated 1st, 3rd and 9th May, 1916 issued to Cadet Mathews by Dublin University OTC and Mathew's Officer Training Corps service record which mentions his "active part in the suppression of the Sinn Fein outbreak". Estimate €2,000-€3,000.

The General who sent 1916 leaders to the firing squad.
Lot 189 in Whyte’s History Literature and Collectibles Auction is the only known trophy created to celebrate a British victory in 1916.

The item is a gong fashioned from a 12lb artillery shell case, suspended from a timber and brass frame. The the shell case is stamped "HMY HELGA THE CALL TO ARMS - LIBERTY STRIKES"; and the frame is inscribed "MENS MESS RICHMOND BKS" and "G. P. O. MCMXVI - BLACKADDERS BOYS - THE CALL TO ARMS - RICHMOND BKS".

"HMY Helga" refers to the armed auxiliary patrol yacht of that name, armed with a twelve-pounder coastal defence gun. During the Rising the Helga shelled Boland’s Mills, Liberty Hall, the GPO and surrounding areas.

Of the leaders of the Rising arrested in Dublin, except Pearse, Connolly and Heuston were held at Richmond Barracks. Apart from that of Connolly, whose court-martial was in Dublin Castle, the courts-martial were held at Richmond Barracks. General Blackader presided over this court. Richmond Barracks continued as the principal detention centre for rounded up rebel soldiers in the aftermath of the rising.

Extraordinarily, the gong was purchased by the current owner in Islington Market in 1987. Although now living in Ireland, at the time of purchase she was a Japanese student living in London, with no connections to Ireland, who liked the gong because it was reminiscent of a Shinto temple bell. It is estimated at €800-€1,200.

1916 Rising: Irish Volunteer killed-in action
Of course, Whyte’s auction also includes items relating to Irish Volunteers fighting against the crown. Chief among these is lot 180, a very rare postumous Easter Rising medal to Patrick Farrell. The medal is impressed on reverse, "28 - PATRICK - FARRELL.". Farrell was killed in action on the 30th of April, 1916 on Church Street, he was 19 years old. He is buried in the Republican Plot at Glasnevin Cemetery and is also commemorated at Arbour Hill Cemetery. He was a native of Dublin and was a plasterer by trade. Estimate €2,000-€3,000.

Dev’s First Election
Not long after Britain’s short-lived victory in 1916, there were indications that things may not be going the Empire’s way in Ireland. The 1917 by-election in East Clare was caused by the death of William Redmond, the sitting MP, in World War I. Patrick Lynch was regarded by the Irish Party as a "shoe in" but the wave of support for Sinn Fein following the 1916 Rising saw Eamon de Valera elected by a large majority. Lot 216 is the Returning Officer's Report for the 1917 East Clare by-election signed by Eamon de Valera, who was elected MP; and Patrick Lynch the Irish Party candidate. The report lists the number of votes for each ballot box, identified by its station, numbers of spoiled or rejected votes, and the result - 5,010 for de Valera and 2,035 for Lynch.

It is a unique and extremely important document marking the start of de Valera's 42-year career as an elected representative. Estimate €8,000-€12,000.

The Blueshirts
Lots 295 and 296 in Whyte’s History Literature and Collectibles Auction are related to the Irish Comrades Association or 'Blueshirts'. Lot 295 is an example of the shirt that gave them their nickname, a blue cotton military-style shirt with epaulettes and breast pockets and an embroidered shield-shaped “Fine Gael” badge. It was worn with a broad blue cotton uniform belt, also included in the lot. Estimate €1,000-€1,500. Rarer still, is lot 296 a flag of the Army Comrades Association or 'Blueshirts', it is the first such flag recorded at auction. Estimate €1,000-€1,500

Korean War medals to Irish Soldiers
The Korean War claimed two-million lives and, for the Royal Ulster Rifles, Chaegunghyon, or “Happy Valley” as the Irish troops named it, was its bloodiest battle. Here, on January 3rd to 4th, 1951, they held a key ridgeline against China’s “human wave” while other UN troops retreated through Seoul.

Whyte’s History, Literature and Collectibles auction will offer nine pairs of medals to soldiers of the Royal Ulster Rifles. The collection includes Queen Elizabeth Korea medals and UN Korea medals to Rifleman R. Oates, Rifleman W. H. Liggett and Rifleman G. Grace who were taken prisoner in the retreat from Happy Valley. Lots 330 to 338, estimates range from €300–€500.





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