€36 walking stick owned by North's first PM James Craig is bought for €11,860

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A walking stick once owned by Northern Ireland’s first prime minister sold for £10,000 (€11,860) at an auction in Belfast yesterday.

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

Karl Bennett of Bloomfield Auctions described the stick once used by James Craig as the “star lot” of yesterday’s sale. It is made from blackthorn wood and has 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.

The auction house said the walking stick was bought by a private collector in England a few years ago for around £30 (€36).

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

Craig was a leading unionist figure and was 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.

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan’s exclusive take on the day’s news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

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