Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Monday, April 15th, 2019

    An Irish Library – the sale at James Adam in Dublin at noon next on April 17 – reflects the sort of weird and wonderful idea of the library in an Irish country house.  This is as repository for all sorts of exotica.  This  interesting sale offers a range of books, furniture, art, taxidermy and militaria. Ten coloured engravings by Giovanni Ottaviani of Raphael’s Loggia, an outstanding pair of celestial and terrestrial globes, a pair of Irish carved side tables, a magnificent George II secretaire and a Killarney davenport are among the prime lots  There is art by Richard Carver, Edwin Hayes and Erskine Nicol and taxidermy includes  antlers, a wild boar, a lion and a bear cub. The catalogue is online.

    A pair of George IV celestial and terrestrial globes by Newton UPDATE: THESE MADE 30,000 AT HAMMER


    Sunday, April 14th, 2019

    With everything from a portrait of Lord Tracton to the Dennis silver tray which recounts in Victorian detail the sterling efforts of a magistrate in Wicklow to repress insubordination along the borders of Wicklow, Carlow and Kildare in 1822 the Fortgranite house contents sale by Fonsie Mealy  next Tuesday offers much to tempt collectors.  Among more than 850 lots are a Qing Dynasty cabinet, war medals from both World Wars, a Boer war letter from Winston Churchill and a Qing Dynasty cabinet.  Fortgranite in Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow was the home of the Dennis family for three centuries.  They were originally Swifts, related to Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s, satirist and creator of Gulliver’s Travels, who changed their name to inherit an estate at Tracton in Cork. This inheritance was highlighted on these pages last Saturday through lot 428, letters patent on vellum from King George III granting the title Baron Tracton to James Dennis, son of a timber merchant of Kinsale, who died childless in 1782.The lavishly decorated Dennis silver tray, made in Dublin in 1822, was presented by local bigwigs to Thomas Stratford Dennis:  ” ….  for his conspicuous Zeal and active intrepidity as a Magistrate of their County And for his successful exertions in repressing the spirit of insubordination and contempt for the Laws which prevailed along the borders of the Counties of Wicklow Carlow and Kildare in the year 1822″.  That year marked an ongoing economic slump following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, a disastrous potato crop failure and agrarian unrest.Lot 358 is a tooled gilt binding published in London in 1741 and estimated at 1,000-1,500. By Lewis Riccoboni it is an historical account of the Italian, Spanish, French, English, Dutch, Flemish and German theatres.  The carved hardwood Qing Dynasty cabinet, purchased in Hong Kong, is estimated at 2,000-3,000. A portrait of Esther Johnson in the style of James Latham is estimated at 7,000-10,000.  She was Dean Swift’s Stella and rumoured to have been his wife.

    UPDATE: The sale realised 660,000 on the hammer and was 95% sold. The top lot was an Irish George II hunt table which made 25,000 at hammer.

    A 1741 edition of the history of theatres in Europe UPDATE: THIS MADE 620 AT HAMMER: THE DENNIS SILVER TRAY SOLD FOR 12,000


    Thursday, April 11th, 2019

    NO less than six jerseys endorsed by French footballer Paul Pogba, the shoes he used during the World Cup’s final in 2018 and an official Champions’ league ball signed by the player will come up at a charity auction at Christie’s Paris on April 29. It is for Les étoiles de la source which promotes integration and reintegration through sport. The newly created association wants to improve the lives of 12 to 25 year olds from disadvantaged neighbourhoods through sport and cultural events.


    Thursday, April 11th, 2019

    THE Irish Library sale at James Adam in Dublin on April 17 contains some remarkable pieces of Irish furniture and numerous collectible items. There is a collection of militaria relating to the Duke of Albany’s 72nd Highland Regiment , art by Richard Carver and Edwin Hayes and a collection of taxidermy. The catalogue is online.

    A PAIR OF IRISH CARVED MAHOGANY SIDE TABLES, with breccia marble tops (30,000-50,000)


    Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

    Contents from Fortgranite at Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow – home of the Dennis family for three centuries – will be offered by Fonsie Mealy on April 16. The family, originally named Swift, is related to Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, author, satirist and creator of Gulliver’s Travels. They changed their name for inheritance purposes. Among 850 lots is a portrait of Esther Johnson in the style of James Latham estimated at 7,000-10,000.  Dean Swift’s Stella she is rumoured to have been his wife.

    Other lots include a Boer War letter from Winston Churchill addressed to “Captain M.J.C. Dennis, K Section ‘Pompous’, 2 nd Cav. Bde, South African Field Army”, dated 4 March 1901, signed “Winston S. Churchill” and written on House of Commons notepaper. Captain Dennis took exception to Churchill’s assertion that the Boers had made more effective use of their Maxim guns than the British gunners. This is Churchill’s carefully-worded reply, in which he does not recede from his opinion.

    Late 18th century/early 19th century Irish School portrait of Esther Johnson (Stella) UPDATE: THIS MADE 6,000 AT HAMMER


    Sunday, April 7th, 2019

    An official copy of the final draft of the Good Friday Agreement was the top lot at Whyte’s Eclectic Collector sale in Dublin on April 6. It made a hammer price of 28,000. Printed at Stormont it contains autograph signatures of forty-four participants including Tony Blair, Bertie Ahern, Martin McGuinness, Gerry Adams, George Mitchell, David Ervine, Brid Rogers, Billy Hutchinson, Seamus Mallon et al. This rare example of this historic document with amendments annotated runs to 67 pages. It had been estimated at 5,000-7,000.

    This highly successful sale grossed 480,000 with 87% of lots on offer sold. (See post on for April 1, 2019)



    Saturday, April 6th, 2019

    THE letters containing the royal grant of the title Baron Tracton from George III in 1781 will feature at Fonsie Mealy’s contents sale at Fortgranite, Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow on April 16.  On vellum and decorated with arms, emblems and a portrait of the king they were addressed to James Dennis of Tracton Abbey in Co. Cork. The son of a timber merchant from Kinsae James Dennis was a barrister who became chief baron of the Irish Exchequer in 1777.  He was MP for Rathcormack and Youghal.  Raised to the peerage in 1781 he died childless the following year and his title died with him. He left his estates to his two nephews: those in Kerry to the Rev. Meade-Swift-Dennis, and Tracton Abbey in Co. Cork and Temple Hill House in Co. Dublin to John Swift-Dennis.  The letters are estimated at 1,500-2,000.

    Letters patent from George III with the royal grant of Baron Tracton UPDATE: THIS MADE 3,200 AT HAMMER


    Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

    A pair of Irish Elk or Giant Deer antlers from the collection of the late Sir Sidney Nolan comes up at Bonhams sporting sale in Edinburgh on May 1. The megalocerus giganteus antlers come with 18 points, skull and some restorations. They are 88 inches wide and estimated at £26,000-30,000.

    Bonhams list the provenance as the collection of the late Sir Sidney and Lady Nolan at The Rodd. Antlers have long been a feature of Irish and Scottish baronial banqueting halls. Now extinct the Irish elk is one of the largest deers that ever roamed the earth. It lived during the Pleistocene Period of the Great Ice Age (starting 2.6 million years ago and ending 11,700 years ago).

    The Irish Elk antlers at Bonhams


    Monday, April 1st, 2019

    A 1953 All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship winners medal, a 20 pence piece from 1985 20 valued at 5,000-6,000, an archive of 25 lots from Mount Cashell and a rocket launcher from the Northern Ireland conflict are among the rich selection on offer at Whyte’s Eclectic Collector sale in Dublin on April 6.Defending champions Cork, captained by Christy Ring, retained their All-Ireland crown in 1953 with a 3-3 to 0-8 win over Galway.  A nine carat gold medal from that final is estimated at 4,000-6,000.The sale of the RPG-7 rocket launcher is not without controversy.  The catalogue says it was used by the Provisional IRA during the Troubles. Bulgarian made it was decommissioned in Birmingham in 2013 and is being sold with two inert rocket propelled grenades, an inert booster rocket and accessories.  From a Republican collector the lot is estimated at 4,000-6,000.

    More constitutional politics is represented in the sale in lots like a 1966 Presidential Election Fine Gael Poster for defeated candidate Tom O’Higgins and 1973 and 1989 general election posters. The old 20 pence coin is what is known as a trial piece issued in advance of production to various companies to facilitate the calibration of vending machines and coin operated devices.  Less than 50 of the 500 issued by the Central Bank were not returned and about 10 examples have been recorded to date in private hands.  This makes the 20 pence piece one of the rarest of modern Irish coins, even rarer than the 1943 florin.  An old Lady Lavery £20 wartime bank note from 1943 is estimated at 5,000-6,000. The Mount Cashell Archive consists of 18 lots ranging from the 1692-1711 records of the town of Clonmel to the diaries of Stephen Moore, 3rd Earl of Mount Cashell (1792-1883)  Tipperary estate map including tenants names to an 1893-1943 photograph album of the Coshmore and Coshbride hounds, Ballynatray, Co. Waterford and photograph albums of the Moore, More Smyth and Holroyd Smyth families. A Victorian Royal County of Limerick militia officer’s shako (military hat)  with white metal plate is estimated at 1,500-2,000. The sale includes historical documents and artefacts, militaria, coins, banknotes, rare books, early maps, antiques and curios, rock and pop collectibies and advertising and sporting memorabilia among more than 600 lots.

    UPDATE: The rocket launcher sold for a hammer price of 10,000, the diaries of Stephen Moore (1792-1883), 3rd Earl of Mount Cashell made 8,000, an Easter Rising and War if Indeoendence medal awarded to Herbert Conroy made 6,200, a Howth mauser rifle and converted bayonet made 10,500, the rare trial 20 pence piece made 5,400, a 1682 gold five guineas sold for 6,600, a Lady Lavery war code £20 note made 10,500, an 1871 Howth Mauser rifle and converted gras bayonet made 10,500 and the 1953 All Ireland winners Cork medal made 6,500.

    A Limerick shako or military hat UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 1,800 AT HAMMER
    1953 All Ireland senior hurling medal UPDATE: THIS MADE 6,500 AT HAMMER


    Thursday, March 21st, 2019

    The rarest Beatles record in the world features at Julien’s Auctions music icons sale in Liverpool on May 9. John Lennon’s signed album “Yesterday And Today” (1966), a U.S. First State Butcher prototype stereo example will highlight the auction. Displayed on the wall of his Dakota apartment in New York until he had an assistant take it down and deliver it to the Record Plant where he signed it in blue ink: “To Dave from/ John Lennon/ Dec 7th 71.” it is considered the rarest Beatles record in the world.
    The recipient was Dave Morrell, a Beatles fan and bootleg collector. “The Butcher” was given in essentially a trade for a reel-to-reel tape of Morrell’s Yellow Matter Custard bootleg that Lennon desired. Lennon filled the blank back of the cover with a drawing depicting a man holding a shovel with his dog in front of a setting sun. The cover also includes autographs by Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, which Morrell obtained later. This is believed to be the only First State Butcher album bearing three Beatles signatures and is estimated at $160,000-$180,000.

    The venue for the live and online sale is The Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool. Other top lots include a Beatles signed baseball from their final US concert and John Lennon’s signed guitar strap.

    Julien’s Auctions will partner once again with The Beatles Story to bring their Beatles and Merseybeat “Memorabilia Day” back home to Liverpool on Friday, May 10 for a Beatlemania event. Fans and collectors are invited to bring in their Beatles memorabilia to have appraised by the experts for free at The Beatles Story’s Fab4 Cafe on the Royal Albert Dock.