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  • A TOUCAN OR TWO AT VICTOR MEE AUCTION

    Guinness for Strength ad by John Gilroy featuring a sculpted man after Henry Moore. UPDATE: THIS MADE 3,000 AT HAMMER

    If you frequented Irish pubs in the rare old times the gleaming advertising mirrors that surrounded you then are valuable collectible items now. In terms of cost at auction they trump objects including original artworks by John Gilroy from a valuable Guinness collection which highlights three days of sales by Victor Mee on June 18, 19 and 20.

    The English artist John Gilroy (1898-1985) who worked with S.H. Benson – Britain’s largest advertising agency – created the iconic toucan and what is now instantly recognisable art for Guinness featuring the zoo keeper and animals enjoying the black stuff.  Such is the global reach of this art that you could safely say that Gilroy was here, there and everywhere as well! His colleagues at Bensons included author Dorothy L Sayers, grand daughter of an emigrant from Tipperary, then a copywriter.  

    A framed Guinness toucan with a paintbrush pencil sketch by John Gilroy. UPDATE: THIS MADE 2,000 AT HAMMER

    The collection of David Hughes, a brewer at Park Royal in London for 16 years, features among almost 1,500 lots at Victor Mee’s sale. He is the author of several books about Guinness including Gilroy was Good for Guinness and The Lost Art of Guinness. “After a long time in the business it’s a treat to come across a private collection of the calibre and esteem that David’s collection brags” auctioneer Victor Mee remarked. 

    The collection is still growing so Hughes has reluctantly decided to part with some of it. Framed sketches illustrated and signed by Gilroy including a Guinness for Strength ad featuring a sculpted stone man after Henry Moore, a Guinness Toucan with a paintbrush and pencil sketch, a koala on a branch with a Guinness bottle, a sketch of zoo animals running and a 1953 advertising artwork depicting the Guinness sea lion and an ostrich feature.  Estimates for all these sketches range between €200 and €1,200.

    A ruberoid Guinness penguin is estimated at just €40-€60 and other items from the collection include an ashtray with penguin, a 1920’s round cream plastic calendar, a pottery water jug and a grey stone bulldog.

    Rare early 20th century Cork Distilleries advertising mirror. UPDATE: THIS MADE 9,800 AT HAMMER

    An early 20th century Paddy Pure Pot Still Ten Years Old Irish Whiskey mirror made by the Dublin glass plate company (€5,000-€8,000), a Schweppes table cordial and cider mirror (€4,000-€8,000) and an early 20th century Hignetts reliable cigarettes dispensing cabinet on reverse painted glass (€4,000-€8,000) are the most expensively estimated lots. These are much sought after by publicans, hoteliers and collectors of memorabilia. 

    A number of other mirrors, a Shell advertising pump and an advertising clock with central mirrored panel are among the top lots. The most expensively estimated Hughes lot is a Guinness Time wall metal advertising sign depicting Gilroy figures of a seal, an ostrich and a man (€2,000-€4,000).  Lot 1252 is a rare advertising showcard for Slattery’s Bacon and Hams, Tralee (€400-€600).  The catalogue is online and the sales begin each day at 5.30 pm.

    A Slattery’s Bacon and Hams Tralee advertising showcard. UPDATE: THIS MADE 750 AT HAMMER

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