Collectors to battle online for Army and Troubles items

An army Land Rover, deactivated firearms and RUC riot shields are among almost 700 lots going under the hammer at a Troubles-related auction in Belfast next week.

By Mark Rainey
Thursday, 20th May 2021, 1:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:47 pm
1987 army Land Rover going under the hammer in Belfast on May 26. Photo: On The Square Emporium
1987 army Land Rover going under the hammer in Belfast on May 26. Photo: On The Square Emporium

A number of other items date back much further – including several UVF bolt action rifles brought into Ireland prior to World War One.

The On The Square Emporium auction will take place online over two evenings (May 26 and 27) but the sale items can be viewed at the emporium’s facility in the Sydenham Business Park.

While the 1987 Land Rover complete with radio equipment, is expected to sell for between £8,000 and £10,000, many items are in the pocket-money range – including a blank RUC notebook and even several RUC riot shields with estimates as low as £30.

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Bren gun going under the hammer at On The Square

There are many more interesting lots, among them rubber bullets and an iconic British Bren gun (£700 - £1,000).

On The Square owner Justin Lowry said the Covid lockdown has boosted many people’s interest in collecting.

“People weren’t going on holiday, the weren’t going out for meals and they weren’t going to the pub, so there was excess cash with more people looking for military stuff, pub stuff, coins, the value has gone right up,” he said.

“Hopefully this will be the last auction where we don’t allow bidding in person, but it is a proper format auction where I will introduce each item, talk through each thing and then people bid on their own computer as if they were there in person – clicking on the next increment.

“People can still come and preview, in the way that retail is still open for people coming and going but we just can’t have them standing for hours beside each other.”

Mr Lowry said the auction items have come from various sources but mainly from private collectors and house clearances – with two major collections proving a significant number of lots for this sale.

“A lot of it comes from personal collections and the auction now has upwards of 700 lots,” he said.

“All of the firearms are decommissioned and fully legal to the 2019 decommissioning standards.

“The auction takes place over two days. The first day (26th) is mostly police, and some military, and the Land Rover is the last, and the big ticket, item, on the 26th, and the 27th is mostly military.

“On the first day we also have stuff from the Maze prison. We have a good range of UVF and IRA stuff and Irish Troubles stuff which there is a big market for.”

The auction catalogue is available at, and the items can be previewed at Unit A3, 17 Heron Road, Sydenham Business Park, Belfast, BT3 9LE.

The full list of items for sale can be viewed here – Auction catalogue

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