Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
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    Monday, July 29th, 2019

    Property from the life and career of Mae West will come up at Julien’s Auctions in Hollywood on November 1 and 2 next. The event celebrates the trailblazing career and style of the 1930’s American actress, singer, playwright, screenwriter, comedian, and sex symbol. The star coined legendary one liners such as, “When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better”. The auction will showcase a dazzling collection of ornate headdresses, tiaras, jewellery, wigs, film and stage worn bodiced gowns and more.

    Mae West brought her famous Broadway Diamond Lil character, now renamed “Lady Lou,” to the screen in She Done Him Wrong (1933), starring opposite a young and relatively unknown Cary Grant in one of his first major film roles. The film was a box-office hit and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture which grossed over $2 million (equivalent of $140 million today) and saved Paramount Pictures from bankruptcy. The auction is part of the Legendary Women of Hollywood auction which will take place live and online.

    Mae West’s Diamond Lil gown


    Saturday, July 27th, 2019

    What better venue for an antique auction than the The Temperance Hall in Kinsale, Co. Cork with its old fashioned name? In fact the new owner of lot  287 could put their newly acquired Art Deco silver plated cocktail shaker (estimated at 30-50) to good use by concocting that classic blend of bourbon and rye known far and wide as an Old Fashioned.All set for another good night out in Kinsale then at the first session of a two part auction operated jointly by Castlemartyr based Ryan Auctioneers and Matthews of Oldcastle, Co. Meath.  The sales are at 6 pm on July 29 and noon on July 30 with more than 800 lots of antique furniture, jewellery, collectibles and art due to come under the hammer.The opening lots, including a Persian rug, an articulated skeleton clock, an ormolu gilded tazza of Rococo form and an ethnic carved figure of river people offer a flavour of the variety on offer.  This is an auction with all kinds of everything.Among the more expensively estimated furniture lots are a George II red walnut side table with carved shell decoration (5,000-8,000), a William IV dining table (2,000-3,000), a mid Victorian credenza with brass mounts (3,500-5,000), a Rococo form bureau bookcase (700-1,200), a Georgian mahogany bureau (600-900), a console table with brass grill (1,000-1,500) and a set of 12 Chippendale style dining chairs (500-800), There are books, including works of Cork interest, Oriental and European porcelain, lamps, artworks, silver, plate, jewellery and collectibles among 485 lots in the opening evening session. Among them is an emerald and diamond cluster ring (8,000-10,000), a white gold jade and diamond cluster ring (4,500-6,500) and a pair of Colombian emerald cluster earrings (3,000-5,000). The catalogue is online at  Where but Kinsale would you shop for a cocktail shaker in a Temperance Hall?

    Art Deco silver plated cocktail shaker UPDATE: THIS MADE 70 EURO AT HAMMER


    Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

    The Travelling Baby House was the top lot at Fonsie Mealy’s summer sale in Castlecomer today. The rare small mahogany two room house made a hammer price of 48,000 over an estimate of 3,000-4,000. The c1810 English house was of a type mentioned in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. It was from the Vivienne Greene collection and proceeds from the sale are being distributed to various Irish childrens charities. Another dolls house, Portobello, sold for 12,000 at hammer.

    The sale realised in excess of 420,000 on the hammer with 85% of lots sold.



    Saturday, July 20th, 2019

    The dramatic 1885 rescue of the expeditionary force sent to relieve General Gordon of Khartoum made Admiral Charles Beresford, second son of the 4th Marquis of Waterford, a national hero. Albums, scrapbooks and material relating to the Admiral come up at Fonsie Mealy’s summer sale in Castlecomer on July 23. Beresford, who joined the navy aged 13, had a long and spectacular career  In 1882 as captain of the gunboat condor he sailed his ship inshore to bombard the gun batteries of Alexandria during the Egyptian campaign. Three years later, in command of the Safie, he rescued the Khartoum Expeditionary Force. In 1916 he was awarded the title Baron Beresford of Metemmeh and Curraghmore and when he died in 1919 he was given a ceremonial funeral at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Other materials relating to Beresford in the sale include a 1909 advertising poster for Michael Power of Main St.,Carrick on Suir, grocer, tobacconist, wine importer and whiskey merchant, with an image of the Admiral standing on deck with his dog. The auction of 744 lots is brimful of interest. It includes maritime paintings relating to Admiral Beresford, items formerly housed at Tara Palace Museum of Childhood, dolls houses, a collection of  Ronnie McDonnell miniature apprentice furniture pieces, Irish, English and European art, silver, porcelain, militaria and collectibles as well as a small selection of wines, port and whiskeys.

    Co. Tipperary advertising poster featuring Admiral Beresford UPDATE: THIS MADE 800 AT HAMMER


    Friday, July 19th, 2019

    The Dublin Mint Office will tomorrow launch two limited edition coin and ingot sets to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing on July 20. The Magnificent Desolation 50th Anniversary Gold Set includes a ¼ ounce gold $5 coin and a 5 gram gold ingot. The Giant Leap for Mankind 50th Anniversary Set includes a silver 5 ounce $1 coin and a 2.5 gram gold ingot. The coins and ingots were produced by the United States Mint and are limited to just 500 issues each.

    The sets bear unique designs celebrating one of the most historic and iconic achievements in modern history. The coins and ingots were produced by the United States Mint and are limited to just 500 issues each. They are packaged in a presentation box complete with a gold layered plaque on the interior that is a replica of the plaque that was left on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission inscribed with the words: ‘Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the Moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind’.

    The plaque also bears engravings of the signatures of the three astronauts from the 1969 mission, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, as well as President Richard Nixon. The box also has a printed inlay featuring the moon landing.

    The Magnificent Desolation 50th Anniversary Gold Set


    Thursday, July 18th, 2019

    Irish Provincial silver is prized by collectors and Limerick silver is rare. So there will be interest in a c1820 serving or basting spoon by the Limerick maker Robert O’Shaughnessy which comes up at O’Donovan’s sale in Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick on July 20. It comes from the clearance of a residence in Adare and is estimated at 1,200-1,600.

    The Limerick silver serving spoon.


    Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

    No summer antique auction would be complete without a pair of proper cast iron benches.  Woodwards will have a fine Coalbrookdale example at their sale in Cork on July 20. The selection of antiques on offer ranges from a Vienna wall clock to a Regency teapot and a Georgian bachelor’s chest estimated respetively at  600-1,000, 400-800 and 300-500. The auction will feature chairs, mirrors, silver and collectibles. The Coalbrookdale benches are estimated at 1,200-2,000 and a five piece cast iron garden suite is estimated at 800-1,200. 

    Georgian bachelors chest


    Monday, July 15th, 2019

    A glamorous three day Hollywood auction celebrating the luxurious lifestyle and singular career of Elizabeth Taylor will preview in County Kildare in September.  On offer at Julien’s Auctions of Los Angeles is a spectacular collection of iconic fashion, film costumes and accessories by designers Yves St. Laurent, Valentino, Versace, Gucci, Dior and others. Enhancing the sense of retro luxury is an exhibition preview of the collection which is to set sail on a transatlantic voyage from Southhampton to New York on Cunards Queen Mary 2 on October 18. There will be an auction preview at the Museum of Style Icons in Newbridge from September 2 to October 31. A second exhibition is to be held at The Standard Oil Building, Beverly Hills, early in December.  The live and online auction runs from December 6 to December 8. Highlights include Agathon Leonard, a gilt bronze c1901 lamp featuring Loie Fuller, the sensational American dancer at the Folies-Bergre in Paris ($15,000-20,000);  the blue chiffon evening gown designed by Edith Head and worn by Taylor to the 1974 Academy Awards ($4,000-6,000); a group of three silk Persian rugs from Taylor’s Gstaad residence ($4,000-6,000);  a black and white leopardskin print pantsuit design by Mirsa (Marchesa Olga di Gresy) and worn in the 1970 film The Only Game in Town ($3,000-5,000); a New York Yankees jacket from a Vogue photo shoot in Paris in 1974 by photographer Bruce Weber ($2,000-4,000); a silver studded Versace leather biker jacket worn by Taylor for her appearance on the Johnny Carson show ($4,000-6,000);  an Yves St. Laurent poncho and jersey ensemble from the 1965 film The Sandpiper ($2,000-3,000);   a green wool felt cape by Franca, London (Baroness Stael von Holstein) worn to Buckingham Palace for Richard Burton’s investiture ($6,000-8,000);  a Loro Piana brown cashmere wrap worn to the AIDS candlelit march in Washington in 1996 and several sterling table pieces including two Gorham salt and pepper sets with “ET” monograms;  four Cartier napkin rings and an Asprey sterling Kiwi bird bottle stopper.The three time Academy Award winning actress whose epic romances, marriages and jet setting lifestyle were a source of enduring fascination had a discriminating eye. A successful businesswoman she possessed one of the most important private jewellery collections in the world.  In 1963 when she played the title role of Cleopatra she was the first actor to command a million dollars for her performance.  And she was a philanthropist.  Julien’s Auctions produces high profile sales in the film, music, sports and art markets.  The Irish connection is through its co-owner and executive director, Athlone born and reared Martin Nolan, a former Wall Street stockbroker.

     A gilt-bronze lamp featuring Loie Fuller, circa 1901, signed “A. Leonard/ S-cld”.
    A chiffon evening gown designed by Edith Head and worn by Elizabeth Taylor to the 1974 Academy Awards.


    Sunday, July 14th, 2019

    This early mezzotint portrait of Mrs. Elizabeth Aldworth (1695-1775) in full masonic robes comes up at Fonsie Mealy’s summer auction in Castlecomer on July 23.  Born Elizabeth St. Leger and famous in her time as The Lady Freemason she was the first recorded woman to be initiated into Freemasonry.  Daughter of the 1st Viscount Doneraile she witnessed a meeting of the freemasons in her fathers house at Doneraile Court.  Now newly opened to the public after refurbishment by the OPW, Doneraile Court in Co. Cork was also refurbished in the late 18th century and loose bricks in a wall of the room where the masons met enabled the young Elizabeth to see what was going on.  The portrait was published in 1811 by S. Kennedy of Patrick St, Cork and sold by Bro. R. Spencer, Masonic Booksellers, London. It is in a Hogarth type frame with a printed “Biographical Memoir of The Hon. Mrs. Aldworth of Newmarket, Co. Cork” framed on the back.  Mrs. Aldworth was buried in the old St. Fin Barres Cathredal in Cork and there is a plaque near her remains in the present cathedral.  The print is estimated at 300-500.



    Friday, July 12th, 2019

    The Moon and Beyond, Meteorites from the Stifler Collection is open for bidding at an online sale at Christie’s until July 25. Estimates range from $700 to $350,000. The sale is led by a natural sculpture from outer space – the outstanding aesthetic iron Gibeon Meteorite ($250,000 – 350,000) is draped in a variegated gunmetal-hued patina with ochre accents. Like most iron meteorites, Gibeon meteorites were formed 4.5 billion years ago within the molten core of an asteroid whose shattered remains are part of the asteroid belt.

    The Stifler Collection boasts the six largest lunar meteorites on Earth. The vast majority of the collection is being donated to the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum; offered in this auction are duplicates and cuttings taken from specimens being enhanced for display. Proceeds will be donated to the Museum, a land trust created by Stifler & McFadden and other charities supported by the Stifler family.