Che Guevara’s Irish cigar lighter is among the items going under the hammer at an online auction of historical memorabilia this month.
The lighter, purchased on a chance visit to Shannon Airport, will be auctioned alongside a remarkable collection of items including the Bible that Michael Collins had with him when he was murdered, a newly discovered copy of Wolfe Tone’s Speech from the Dock and Phil Lynott’s bass guitar.
Guevara, who had distant Irish roots, landed in Ireland by chance when his flight from Prague to Havana was diverted to Shannon in 1965 due to engine failure.
He bought the lighter, whose guide price is 2,300 euros, in the duty-free shop and called it his lucky Irish lighter.
He used it until after his unsuccessful insurgency campaign in the Congo in 1966, when he gave it to Fidel Castro’s mistress Natty Revuelta Clews and told her that it had not been so lucky.
The Gormleys Signature Sale brings together key figures from Irish and international history as well as items from pop culture and runs online until November 14th.
Antiques expert Niall Mullen said each item in the auction “tells a story from history”.
“Rarely has a collection like this been launched that appeals to so many people,” he said.
Also for sale is the King James Bible, which was given to Collins when he took a job as a postal clerk in London in 1906, as well as an original of Theobald Wolfe Tone’s speech delivered in the dock during his trial for treason that year 1798.
Viewings of these items will take place at Gormleys Dublin from November 2nd to 5th and at Gormleys Belfast from November 9th to 11th. The timed online auction ends November 14th. – P.A