Sean O'Kelly 1916 medals estimated at $15,000

A 1916 group of three Irish independence medals awarded to the country's future president Sean O'Kelly is up for auction at Spink in London.

The lot is expected to make $12,000-15,000 on January 27 - a testament to O'Kelly's importance to the history of Ireland.

Sean Kelly medals
Sean O'Kelly went on to become the second president of Ireland

O'Kelly was a key figure in the Irish resistance and later served as the second president of an independent Ireland (1945-1959).

O'Kelly later recounted how the 1916 Easter Rising began: "On Monday morning [of Easter Week 1916] I was out of the house early, stopped at my office, stopped to see my mother, and about 11 o'clock made my way to Liberty Hall.

"A crowd was there, milling around in general confusion.

"I saw Pearse. He asked if I was with him, and I said yes. Then James Connolly said to form up, and a small column of us marched to the General Post Office. And the Easter Rebellion of 1916 was under way."

After the rebellion he was arrested and imprisoned in England. He managed to escape a year later and returned to Ireland to take up a role in Sinn Fein.   

The medals consist of a 1916 medal, a 1917-1921 General Service medal and a 1916-1966 Easter Rising Anniversary medal.

They are sold alongside a pennant flag from O'Kelly's presidential car.

A rare Easter Rising Irish independence broadside sold for £305,000 ($462,143) at Sotheby's London last year.

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