A lock of hair taken from the body of murdered Irish leader Michael Collins is to be auctioned at an historical memorabilia sale in Dublin later this month.
The Irish Times reports that other ‘macabre mementos’ of Collins’ death in Cork in 1922 will also go on sale at the Adam’s auction house.
The lock of hair and a cotton swab used to clean the Collins corpse before it lay in state are among the items up for auction.
The specialist auction house has confirmed it is to sell: “An envelope containing a lock of tangled brown hair which is inscribed Hair of head of Michael Collins when laid in State in the City Hall August 1922.”
The memento originally belonged to Collins’ sister Kitty who passed it on to a friend in the 1950s.
The auction house expects the item, now owned by an unnamed vendor, to sell for up to $7,000 later this month in a sale entitled ‘800 Years - Irish Political, Military and Literary History’.
Collins, the man who signed the Treaty of Independnce in London, was shot dead at Béal na mBláth in west Cork during the Civil War 90 years ago.
His body was brought to Dublin by sea on board the steamship Classic. It was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital to be embalmed before it was removed to lie in state at Dublin City Hall.
The paper reports that the framed swab of lint and cotton wool used to clean Collins’s face were kept by hospital nurse Nessie Rogan.
It has been passed down through her family and will be sold in an auction titled ‘Ireland’s Struggle - Irish and Republican Memorabilia’ with an estimated value of $700.
With the 90th anniversary of Collins’ death approaching there is new interest in souvenirs and mementos.
Adam’s are also offering a photograph showing Collins standing on an ironwork balcony, said to be at No. 10 Downing Street, where he negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921 along with a letter from a priest to Collins’s sister Celestine, a nun, describing him as ‘one of Ireland’s hidden saints’.