Iconic unionist’s walking stick going under the hammer
A walking stick once owned by Northern Ireland’s first Prime Minister James Craig is going under the hammer in east Belfast next week.
The distinctive item was bought by a private collector in England several years ago for £30, but is expected to sell for more than £4,000 at Bloomfield Auctions on Tuesday.
It has a silver collar with an inscription – stating it was presented to Craig on his first public visit to Lurgan in 1925.
Born in 1871, Craig was a Boer War veteran and unionist leader who played a major role in organising the opposition to the Home Rule Bill, and was a key figure in the creation of a six county Northern Ireland.
Craig also served as an MP before becoming Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, a position he held for almost 20 years.
His blackthorn stick goes on the market just weeks after a walking stick once owned by IRA leader Michael Collins so for £52,000 at the same auction rooms.
Also being auctioned is a medal presented to Craig by a person named TH Jamison.
Karl Bennett of Bloomfield Auctions said the items are of particular interest as Northern Ireland’s centenary is currently being celebrated.
“It’s amazing to have items with such historical significance to Northern Ireland, especially 100 years on from the country’s formation,” Mr Bennett said.
“The blackthorn walking stick is accompanied by a silver collar emblazoned with the words: ‘presented to the Rt Hon Sir James Craig Bart D.L. on the occasion of his first public visit to Lurgan 1-4-1925.’ I think museums and some political parties also may be interested in acquiring it.”
Full information is available at www.bloomfieldauctions.co.uk
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