A unique Cork Republican Silver strawberry dish was be the centrepiece of Woodwards special spring auction on April 6th
Cork republican silver was made by William Egan and Sons during the period July to September 1922, whenMunster was in the hands of the Republicans and Ireland was involved in civil war. The national troops controlledDublin and communications between the two cities was completely cut off.
Egans were determined to keep their skilled silversmiths employed but were unable to send their silver to be assayed and hallmarked at the government assay office in Dublin as Cork was controlled by the republican army. Bridges and railways were destroyed, general confusion existed, and the silver trade was practically ruined.
During these troubled times, Mr Barry Egan, the owner of Egans, got his engraver to cut two dies, one a castle and the other a ship somewhat similar to that used by the Cork silversmiths in the 17th and 18th centuries who used to assay each others silver and stamp it. It was not unlike the present city coat of arms.
The silver made during this period, July to September 1922, was stamped with these marks and the initials of the firm ‘WE’
When communications with the rest of Ireland were open again and Egans were able to send their silver to Dublin again to be hallmarked, the republican marks were destroyed. Therefore itshistorical and rarity value is considerable and each piece reminds one of a very brief but desperate period in the history of Cork andIreland.
It is estimated that only about sixty to seventy pieces were made and anybody owning one of these rare and historic specimens would be very fortunate.
This particular piece is a Republican Silver Strawberry dish bearing the stamps of the two castles and the ship and with ‘WE’ for William Egan & Sons and its sides are fluted in thirteen panels with wavy rims. Diameter 8.25 ins, weight 10ozs.