A lock of hair belonging to Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins has sold at auction for £18,000 (€21,400/$23,726).

The lock of hair, which had once belonged to Collins' former fiancée Kitty Kiernan, went under the hammer at Bloomfield Auctions in Belfast.

The militaria-themed auction featured other items from Ireland's War of Independence era, including a revolver Collins reputedly carried when he helped spring fellow revolutionary and future taoiseach Éamon de Valera from Lincoln Jail in 1919. It sold for £9,000 (€10,700).

Documents from the republican leader's close friend Emmet Dalton, including an evocative account of Collins' assassination in Cork on August 22, 1922, sold for £10,000 (€11,900), reports EchoLive.

Bloomfield managing director and auctioneer Karl Bennett said the lock of hair belonging to Collins was passed down through the family of Felix Cronin, the man who married Kitty Kiernan.

“Collins’ lock of hair is definitely up there with some of the most obscure items we’ve had through our doors and I was delighted to see it make £18,000,” said the auctioneer.

Posted by Bloomfield Auctions on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

“The Dalton documents that we received gave a fascinating insight into his relationship with Collins and indeed the extent of the situation in Ireland at that time.

“In total, these documents sold for around £10,000 but among them was a detailed account of Collins’ death in 1922 which sold for just over £1,000 (€1,190).” 

He added: “I believe Dalton may have been collating these documents to either make his own movie or write his own book about Collins. It’s well known that that was one of his biggest regrets in life – not making a movie about the life of Collins.

“It’s safe to say that each of these items tell a phenomenal story and come from a very important and influential time in this island’s history.

“Some people may question the need to sell, or indeed purchase items such as these, but a great deal can be learnt from history, which is why I feel that it’s imperative for us to remember.”