Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact
  • Archive for the ‘AUCTIONS’ Category


    Sunday, December 10th, 2023
    A first edition of the first Harry Potter book

    The online sale by Hegarty’s in Bandon from 5 pm on December 12 will feature a first paperback edition of the first Harry Potter book, one of 5,150 copies in wrappers.  Both paperback and hardback editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone were published on June 26, 1997.  This one is estimated at around €3,000.  The sale offers art by Graham Knuttel and a selection of antique furniture, collectibles and jewellery including contents from 


    Saturday, December 9th, 2023
    John Doyle (1797-1868) – Portrait of Daniel O’Connell holding a pistol.

    Daniel O’Connell’s monogrammed leather gun case made a hammer price of €950 at Marshs online sale in Cork today. It had been estimated at €1,000-€1,500.  By coincidence a half length portrait of Daniel O’Connell holding a pistol by John Doyle (1797-1868), the Irish artist who was grandfather to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, came up last week at Bonhams Irish sale. The estimate was just €700-€1,000.  It was unsold in an auction where Paul Henry’s Killary Bay, Connemara made €140,500 and a portrait of Harry Clarke by Margaret Clarke made €51,200.

    (See post on for December 3, 2023).


    Saturday, December 9th, 2023
    William Hurst Ashpitel’s prizewinning 1805 design for Ormond Bridge, Dublin

    A bound copy of one of the most elaborate 19th century publications on the Near East leads Fonsie Mealy’s two day rare book and collectors sale on December 12 and 13. This brimful of interest sale, being held this year in Castlecomer, offers  rarities like the first edition of the first book by the first Irish author to write for a printing press rather than a scriptorum, important 1916 documents, the first Dublin All Ireland Hurling Championships medal from 1889, a lock of Oscar Wilde’s hair and the 1805 design for Ormond Bridge in Dublin (now named O’Donovan Rossa Bridge) by William Hurst Ashpitel (1776-1852). The design for O’Donovan Rossa Bridge near the Four Courts in Dublin is important because it was William Hurst Ashpitel of London who won the design competition in 1805. The bridge as it stands is as shown in his drawing, but the architects had previously been identified only as George Knowles and James Savage.  This piece of architectural history is estimated at €5,000-€7,000. 

    A 1926 All Ireland hurling final programme (won by Cork)

    Among more than 1,000 lots are a variety of GAA medals and other sporting memorabilia like a Bloody Sunday match ticket, a set of 26 views of Dublin by James Malton, a collection of Irish literature, travel plates and books and an unpublished letter by Michael Collins dated July 29, 1922 – just three weeks before his death – in which he states: “I am against shooting down unarmed men in any circumstances”. The first three volumes of The Holy Land, Syria, Idumae, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia by David Roberts and George Croly, published in 1842-43, is estimated at €10,000-€15,000. Duns Scotus Joannes by Maurice O’Fihily, Archbishop of Tuam – an edited commentary on the metaphysics of Aristotle believed to be the work of Duns published in Venice in 1497 – has an estimate of €8,000-€12,000.

    An original Army issue Blueshirt tunic

    Among the other top lots are Dublin’s first All-Ireland medal from 1889 (€7,000-€10,000), a collection of 1916 documents including a rare copy of Irish War News printed during the Rising (€6,000-€9,000), Malton’s Dublin views and a lock of Oscar Wilde’s hair, each estimated at €6,000-€8,000. An edition of Bog Poems by Seamus Heaney illustrated by Barrie Cooke is estimated at €4,000-€6,000, as is a facsimile edition of the Book of Kells, and a copy of An Ideal Husband inscribed by Oscar Wilde.

    A dummy rifle used in North Cork training during the War of Independence

    Among many lots of note is an original Army issued Blueshirt tunic (€1,000-€1,500), a rare dummy wooden training rifle used in the early stages of the War of Independence in North Cork (€300-€500) – this lot highlights the lack of basic equipment by those in Ireland who took on the might of the British Empire just over a century ago and won! – and a cheque written in 1920 by Terence MacSwiney during his brief tenure as martyred Lord Mayor of Cork to the Good Shepherd Convent.  He disbursed his entire mayoral salary in charitable donations.The auction will take place at the saleroom in Castlecomer and online next Tuesday and Wednesday at 10.30 am on each day.  The catalogue is online and viewing continues in Castlecomer tomorrow afternoon and all day on Monday.


    Saturday, December 9th, 2023
    A leather L shaped sofa by Fendi (€600-€1,000).

    Art by Patrick Scott, Frank McKelvey, Charles Brady and Louis le Brocquy feature in the Christmas art and design sale at de Veres.  The timed online auction closes next Tuesday (December 12) and offers 20th century pieces by designers like Charles and Ray Eames,  Rolf Benz and Fendi.

    FROM €15,000 to €12.7 MILLION IN JUST TWO YEARS

    Friday, December 8th, 2023
    Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn – The Adoration of the Kings

    Rembrandt’s rediscovered Adoration of the Kings sold for £10.9 million (€12.7 million) at Sotheby’s in London on December 6. Just two years ago – when it was attributed to the Circle of Rembrandt – it was valued at just €10,000-€15,000 at Christie’s in Amsterdam. The complex monochromatic painting had been almost entirely unseen by scholars since the 1950’s when it came to light.

    It was included in museum exhibitions and referenced as a Rembrandt work by leading Rembrandt scholars in the 1950s, but in 1960 German art historian Kurt Bauch, who only knew the painting from a black and white photograph, described it as a product of the Rembrandt School and omitted it from from the catalogue raisonné he was compiling. Thereafter, the painting was “entirely overlooked and completely ignored in the Rembrandt literature,” according to Sothebys. Following an 18 month research programme by Sotheby’s it was recognised as a work of great significance from Rembrandt’s early career.

    The Adoration of the Kings was acquired by collector J.C.H. Heldring in Amsterdam in 1955. His widow sold it to a German family in 1985, where it remained until it was sold by Christie’s in Amsterdam two years ago. The painting, which measures 9.6 x 7.3 inches, was purchased by an anonymous buyer for €860,000 at the Christie’s sale — more than 50 times the estimated value. It was later identified as the work of the Dutch master. 

    The vast majority of Rembrandt’s works hang in museums around the world, and almost all of those that have come to auction over the past three decades have been portraits or studies of single character heads.


    Thursday, December 7th, 2023
    Admission Ticket to Croke Park, Great Challenge Match (Football), Tipperary v. Dublin, Bloody Sunday, November 21,1920.

    Viewing is now underway in Castlecomer for Fonsie Mealy’s Christmas rare book and collector’s sale on December 12 and 13. This rare Croke Park 1920 admission ticket is highly collectible. The period from 1918 – 1920 was a turbulent and dangerous time in Ireland. It was at this match that British soldiers opened fire on the pitch and crowd, killing a player and twelve spectators. This followed Michael Collins’ operation against British secret service agents earlier that morning, in which fourteen British officers were shot dead. The ticket is estimated at €4,000-€5,000. There are many rare and collectible items on offer in this auction of 1,019 lots which will get underway each day at 10.30 am. The catalogue is online.


    Wednesday, December 6th, 2023
    Jack Butler Yeats RHA (1871-1957) – The Captain (1948)

    The Captain by Jack B Yeats was the top lot at the James Adam sale of important Irish Art in Dublin tonight. It made €95,000 at hammer. Near Leenane by Paul Henry made €80,000, Aran Harbour by Sean Keating made €75,000, The Colloquy of Monus and Una, a pencil, ink and watercolour by Harry Clarke made €70,000, Keem Bay by Paul Henry made €65,000 and Paysage Sinistre by Henry made €60,000.

    Harry Clarke RHA (1889 – 1931) – The Colloquy of Monos and Una (1923)


    Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

    Boat in the Bay, a creation in coloured pencils by Mary Swanzy, comes up as lot 116 at Whyte’s Christmas online art auction which runs until the evening of December 13. It is estimated at €600-€800. The sale is one view at Whyte’s on Molesworth St. from December 9 and the catalogue is online. There is a wide ranging selection of artists from Elizabeth Cope and Markey Robinson, Cecil Maguire and Kenneth Webb to Mabel Young and Moyra Barry, to Roderic O’Conor, Sarah Purser, Sir William Orpen, Jack B. Yeats, Beatrice Elvery (Lady Glenavy) and Mary Cottenham Yeats among more than 300 lots on offer.


    Wednesday, December 6th, 2023
    Collection of 10 Midleton Very Rare Irish Whiskeys, 2015 to 2023

    This collection of Midleton Very Rare Irish Whiskeys from 2015 to 2023 comes up as lot 7 at Dolan’s timed online December sale with an estimate of €7,000-€9,000. The catalogue for this sale, which features 240 lots of 20th century and contemporary Irish artists along with antiques, collectibles, whiskeys rugs and books, is now live and will run until December 11.

    Cecil Maguire RUA – SOME SHEEP FOR INISHLACHEN (€3,000-€5,000)


    Tuesday, December 5th, 2023

    This Austrian gilt and ruby porcelain stein sold for a hammer price of €7,200 over a top estimate of €500-€800 at Sheppards in Durrow this afternoon. It was made around 1880. The reserve is hand painted with ‘The Triumph of Constantine’ and signed ‘Joeger Pinxt’. There is a leaf cast scroll handle with raised thumb piece and a domed cover on an outset gilt metal foot. The stein carries the Bidenschild mark. A large Regency crystal chandelier made €6,500 and another made €5,500, a walnut four poster bed made €6,000, a 19th century bronze garden sculpture of Mercury made €5,000, a Neoclassical white chimney piece made €4,600 and a marble Neptune fountain made €2,800.