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Walking stick of first Northern Ireland PM sells for £10,000 at auction

·2 min read

A walking stick once owned by Northern Ireland’s first prime minister has sold for £10,000 at an auction in Belfast.

It comes in the year that Northern Ireland marks its centenary.

Karl Bennett at Bloomfield Auctions described the aid once used by Sir James Craig as the “star lot” of Tuesday’s sale.

The walking stick is made from blackthorn wood with a silver collar to commemorate Craig’s first public visit to Lurgan in 1925.

While it had been expected to sell for between £4,000 and £5,000, significant interest in the item saw bidding in the room, online and by phone reach £10,000.

The successful buyer was an online bidder.

Blackthorn cane auction
The walking stick once owned by James Craig (Liam McBurney/PA)

The auction house said the walking stick was bought by a private collector in England a few years ago for approximately £30.

Mr Bennett said he was delighted to see the bidding reach £10,000.

“Having been owned by a person of such provenance and especially as Northern Ireland marks its centenary this year, I knew there would be a great amount of interest in the walking stick and it certainly showed during today’s exciting auction,” he said.

Blackthorn cane auction
The auction was won by an online bidder (Liam McBurney/PA)

“We have had a very interesting few weeks in terms of auctioning items with great historical significance, which is what Bloomfield Auctions is really synonymous with – who knows what we may have for auction next.”

Earlier this month a walking stick which once belonged to Irish republican leader Michael Collins sold for more than £50,000.

Sir James was a leading unionist figure and opposed to home rule. He became the first prime minister of Northern Ireland in 1921 and served for nearly 20 years until his death in November 1940.

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