Joseph Plunkett's Irish Rising medal to star in sale at Whyte's

A 1916 medal awarded to Joseph Plunkett, a leader of the 1916 Irish Rising, will star in a March 13 sale at Whyte's in Dublin, the Irish Times reports.

Plunkett was captured during the siege of Dublin's General Post Office and subsequently tried and executed.

Plunkett medal Irish
Plunkett was one of 15 leaders executed by firing squad and buried here at Arbour Hill Prison in Dublin

The medal was awarded to him posthumously during the 1940s.

However, Plunkett's widow was unhappy at then prime minister Eamon de Valera, who cracked down on his former republican allies and the IRA while in office, and threw it out.

Head auctioneer Ian Whyte told the Irish Times: "The medal is die-stamped with Plunkett's name to the reverse and numbered '70'. On issue, the medal was sent to Plunkett's wife Grace (nee Gifford).

"Cathal Gannon was a friend of Grace Gifford Plunkett and in 1941 discovered that she had thrown the medal into her dustbin due to her antipathy to the government.

"Gannon retrieved it and Grace Plunkett told him to keep it as she didn't want it".

The medal later passed from Gannon's possession into that of the consignor.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 uprising. A number of important artefacts have recently come up for sale, including an original broadside that made £305,000 ($462,143) at Sotheby's London last year.

The lot could beat the record for an Irish Rising medal, which stands at $118,971 for the one awarded to Sean MacDermot. It sold in 2008.

A set of medals awarded to fellow republican and future Irish president Sean O'Kelly will auction on January 27.

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