Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers: A Decidedly Irish December 9th Sale

- by Thomas C. McKinney

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Hailing from Castlecomer, Ireland, Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers is an auction house dealing in fine art and rare books whose results are archived into the AED. On December 9th, 2014, their sale of Rare Books, Manuscripts, Literature & Maps will take place on site in Dublin, Ireland, as well over the phones and online. Containing 792 lots, the sale is sizeable with a large array of subjects and material covered, including but not limited to rare books and literature, photographs, bindings, medical books, maps, and Irish historical and literary items and manuscripts. Let’s take a look at some assorted items.

No rare book sale in Ireland would be complete without a showing of one of the country’s most famous authors, and Fonsie Mealy does not disappoint. Lots 187 and 188 are copies of Joyce’s Ulysses and Dubliners respectively. Ulysses is a first English edition, limited to 2000 copies (this is number 449) and is estimated €1,000 - €1,500. Dubliners, also a first edition of which there were approximately 746 copies printed, has an interesting provenance stemming from a classmate of Joyce’s at Clongowes. This copy is estimated €3,000 - €4,000.

There are many interesting items in the sale, and one that jumps out is an important archive of the Scottish family the Rentons of Lamberton. An old name, dating back to at least the 14th century, this series of about 300 Renton documents makes for a fascinating case study of the legal and financial affairs of a lowland Scots landed family in the early modern period. The lot is estimated €1,200 - €1,600.

Here are several other items of note:

Lot 439, substantial manuscripts of two novels by the Irish author Charles Lever. One contains 38 chapters, the other lacks the first 9 pages but continues to page 440. Est. €1,500 - €2,000.

Lot 443, Samuel Beckett’s Echo’s Bones and other Precipitates. A very rare limited edition with a fine presentation inscription. Est. €2,000 - €3,000.

Lot 452, an archive of the Wardells, a Victorian military family, including an original letter from the camp at Rorke’s Drift, 1879. Est. €1,000 - €1,500.

Lot 468, an Army Recruiting Poster, The Kaiser’s Insult. Est. €200 - €300.

Lot 555, first edition of Charles Dickens’ The Uncommercial Traveller. Est. €400 - €600.

Lot 698, first edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Est. €750 - €1,000.

Lot 699, first edition of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles. Est. €550 - €750.

An e-catalog as well as a PDF copy of the sale’s catalog are available on the Fonsie Mealy website. If you wish to participate in the sale online, bidding will be done via the-saleroom.com. You can register to bid here, as well as view the catalog.