Classical Numismatic Group > Auction 121Auction date: 6 October 2022
Lot number: 1199

Price realized: 400 USD   (Approx. 406 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:


IRELAND. Memorial badge for William O'Connell, IRA. Engraved on a 1918 British florin (28mm, 11.20 g, 12h). Dated 14 October 1920. WM O' CONNELL/ KILLED/ IN DUBLIN/ 14.10.'20 engraved on the obverse. Pierced for suspension. VF.

By 1912, Irish nationalists had succeeded in achieving home rule for Ireland and, in the general election of 1918, Sinn Féin would win a majority of the island's seats in the British Parliament. Instead of heading to Westminster, they instead assembled the First Dáil Éireann (Irish Assembly) On 21 January 1919, they declared the independent Republic of Ireland. Violence began shortly thereafter. The Irish Republican Army, independent of the Assembly, began targeting members of the Royal Irish Constabulary, which in turn elicited harsh responses from the British. Guerilla fighting and civil disobedience shook the island from 1919-1921, in a conflict now known as the Irish War of Independence. About 2300 people were killed, including close to 900 civilians. On 6 December 1921, the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed, creating the Irish Free State and establishing what would prove to be merely a temporary truce.

William O'Connell, born in county Cork in 1899, served in D Company, 1st Battalion, Dublin Brigade of the Irish Republican Army. On 14 October 1920, he participated in an ambush of a weekly payroll shipment. As the IRA men were approaching the Rolls-Royce armored car, one of their guns accidentally discharged. The guards sprang into action, peppering the assailants and nearby civilians with fire from the car's mounter Vickers machine gun and, though the car was ultimately seized, O'Connell was shot through the head and killed. Military authorities ordered the attendees at his funeral limited to only 50. O'Connell's death is commemorated on a monument in his hometown of Glantane, county Cork, as well as on a plaque in Phibsborough Road, Dublin.

Estimate: 500 USD