Michael Collins walking stick given as a gift – €15,000 (£13,600) at Fonsie Mealy.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

It came by descent for sale at Irish auction house Fonsie Mealy (23% buyer’s premium inc VAT) on December 8.

This stick, sturdy enough to be used as a cudgel, was carried by ‘The Big Fellow’ in his efforts to blend in with the gentlemen that frequented the Gresham during the War of Independence.

Collins was engaged in a guerrilla fight against British forces, planning and directing many successful attacks including the Bloody Sunday assassinations of key British intelligence agents in November 1920.

According to the letter penned by Baker’s granddaughter, the cane was given as a token of gratitude after Baker had ‘failed’ to identify Collins to British agents who came to the Gresham to find him just before Christmas that year.

“When my grandfather was asked by British agents if he had seen General Collins, he had to keep a very cool head. Collins was directly in front of him at the bar, standing right beside the British and even asked them to join him for a drink.”

A modest item with a powerful story, the walking stick raised plenty of interest at its €3000-5000 estimate before selling at €15,000 (£13,600) in Castlecomer.