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    Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

    Dublin Mint Company Commemorative Coin.
    Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2019

    A War of Independence medal was launched today by the Dublin Mint Office to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the War of Independence.  It shows an image of the Garden of Remembrance on one side, and Hibernia, the personification of Ireland, on the other.

    The image of Hibernia is based on original 19th century Irish coinage. The Garden of Remembrance, which is presented as a photographic image on the medal, was selected to feature due to its dedication to the memory of all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish freedom.

    Daniel Penney, Managing Director, of the Dublin Mint Office, said: “In the centenary year of the start of the War of Independence we are honoured to be commemorating all of those who gave everything they had in the fight for Irish freedom. The War of Independence still remains one of the most significant events in Irish history. The Dublin Mint Office is delighted to be able to announce the release of the War of Independence Centenary Medal. ”

    Medals commemorating the Easter Rising and the seven signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic were released in 2016, to mark 100 years since the rising. More recently a Michael Collins medal was released to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the end of the Irish Free State in 1937 and the establishment of the new state of Ireland.

    The Dublin Mint Office is part of the Samlerhuset Group and the medal is available free to members of the public at


    Friday, February 1st, 2019

    The Heart of Space meteorite.

    The Heart of Space, an iconic iron meteorite in the shape of a heart, will highlight Christie’s fifth annual online auction of meteorites.  It will run from February 6 to 14.  The Heart of Space originates from one of the biggest meteorite showers of the last several thousand years, which occurred in Siberia on February 12, 1947.

    The shockwaves from the explosion collapsed chimneys, shattered windows and uprooted trees; sonic booms were heard nearly 200 miles away and eyewitnesses thought the world was ending. Among the meteorites to land on Earth that day was a natural sculptural form from outer space in the shape of a heart. It’s the result of unlikely yet fortuitous cleavage along its crystalline planes as it burned through Earth’s atmosphere — a fiery plunge that thumb-printed the surface and evokes the texture of a Giacometti. It is estimated at $300,000 – $500,000.  There are 45 lots in the sale.


    Thursday, January 24th, 2019

    The conservation of a former tenement house at 14 Henrietta Street in Dublin’s north inner city has been shortlisted for the prestigious European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2019.  This is one of 40 projects selected from nearly 400 nominations across Europe.  Now a home to Dublin’s social history and open to the public since last September the house at 14 Henrietta Street tells the story of 300 years of city life, all within the walls of one address.   Conservation and restoration work at the Dublin City Council-owned building was carried out over a 10-year period.

    Heritage officer with Dublin City Council, Charles Duggan, who oversaw the restoration project, said:  “The 10-year long journey to rescue, stabilise and ultimately conserve and adapt 14 Henrietta Street entailed not only the stabilisation of the house due to its serious structural condition, but the preservation and recovery of the fragile traces of human occupation embodied in the fabric and form of the house. The conservation of the house and the creation of the museum has been a truly collaborative project; our dedicated design team, led by Shaffrey Architects, GEM Construction, specialist conservationists, researchers, and curators have been guided by conversations with people who lived in tenement flats in this house and on the street.”

    The St Mary’s Medieval Mile Museum in Kilkenny by McCullough Mulvin Architects has also been shortlisted.


    Sunday, January 13th, 2019

    Catherine Deneuve’s wardrobe, including many one off pieces made by Yves St. Laurent, will be sold by Christie’s in Paris on January 24.  Now 75 the French actress is selling her property n Normandy where the clothes are kept.   The French actor was muse to Laurent for many years.  At the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of his career in 2002 she told him: “My most beautiful love affair is with you”.

    Around 300 lots are to be sold, half at Christie’s in Paris and the rest in an online auction. There are evening dresses worn by Deneuve in Cannes, Hollywood and Venice as well as trench coats and colourful dress suits.  The online only sale will offer a larger number of lots along with some cocktail dresses. The beaded evening dress featured here was exhibited at the Met in New York in 1993. Deneuve wore the dress at a ceremony in 1969 where she met Alfred Hitchcock, Philippe Noiret and Francois Truffaut. Deneuve wore the gold lurex dress featured here to the 2000 Oscars ceremony for the nomination of Est-West by Regis Wargnier in the Best International Film category.

    UPDATE:  The live auction of the wardrobe of Catherine Deneuve designed by Yves Saint Laurent achieved a total of $1,025,581 and sell-through rates of 100%. The interest in the sale was so immense that 90% of all 129 lots sold multiple times above their pre-sale estimates. The auction lasted 5 hours, witnessing fierce competition from around the globe.

    This YSL beaded evening dress is from the Haute Couture Spring Summer 1969 Collection (£3,000-5,000).  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 42,500

    A gold lurex velvet draped evening dress YSL Haute Couture Spring Summer 1995 (2,000-3,000).  UPDATE:  THIS SOLD FOR 33,700


    Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

    The boots worn by Johnny Sexton for the Grand Slam, le Drop and the Champions Cup made a hammer price of 15,500 at Sheppards in Durrow today.  They had been estimated at around 50 euro.  They were lot 1267, the last lot in a successful two day auction that saw competitive bidding in the room, on the telephone and on the internet.

    Sexton, who captains Leinster and is one of two of Ireland’s vice captains, has just been announced as winner of the World Rugby Player of the Year for 2018.  He is only the second Irish player to win the award after the inaugural winner Keith Wood in 2001.  Ireland was named World Rugby Team of the Year at the awards ceremony in Monaco on November 25.

    Proceeds from the sale will go towards the medical treatment of eight-year-old Anna Browne, from Mallow, Co Cork both here and in the United States.  The schoolgirl suffers from cerebral palsy.

    (See post on for November 23, 2018)


    Sunday, November 18th, 2018

    The Monroe Thunderbird

    Marilyn Monroe’s Golden Globe award for World Film Favorite Female 1961 from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association became the top selling Golden Globe award sold at auction when it made $250,000 at Julien’s icons and idols Hollywood sale.  Monroe’s 1956 Raven Black Ford Thunderbird convertible driving to auction for the first time in history made $490,000. Other iconic items connected to Monroe’s mystique included the black satin blouse with matching necktie Monroe wore to a press conference at Los Angeles Airport on February 26, 1956 which made $43,750, over four times the original estimate and her copy of Playboy’s first issue with Monroe on the cover signed by publisher Hugh Hefner.  This made $32,000.


    Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

    The magic of Queen Marie-Antoinette held say at Sotheby’s in Geneva when a pearl and diamond pendant that belonged to ill-fated French Queen was been sold for $36 million over an estimate of around $2 million.  This is a world record for a pearl.  The pendant was part of a collection of jewellery sold by Italy’s Bourbon-Parma house.

    Other lots included a natural pearl and diamond necklace, a pair of pearl and diamond earrings, and a monogram ring with a lock of her hair.  The queen smuggled her jewellery to her family in Austria before an ill fated attempt to flee the French Revolution.  She was guillotined aged 37  in 1793.

    The previous record for the most expensive pearl was a necklace once owned by Elizabeth Taylor which was sold for $11.8 million at Christie’s in 2011.


    Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

    The Pink Legacy

    THE Pink Legacy made $50,375,00 at Christie’s in Geneva last night.   The largest and finest fancy vivid pink diamond ever offered at auction by Christie’s weighs just under 19 carats.  The rectangular-cut gem was the top lot at Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva. From the Oppenheimer Family it had been estimated at US $30-50 million.  The auction achieved $110,214,250.

    (See post on for September  25,  2018)


    Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

    Property from the career of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin will come under the hammer at Julien’s Auctions live and online sale from the Hard Rock Cafe in New York on November 10.  Over 30 stage worn dresses are to be sold along with accessories.

    Highlights with estimates from $800-$4,000 include a red with sequined interior dress designed by Arnold Scassi with a matching sequin romper worn on stage Sept 13, 1991 at Radio City music Hall; a St. John knit jacket worn Sept 29, 1999 at the National Medal of Arts Ceremony with President Clinton in Washington D.C.; a black Oleg Cassini dress worn at the ESSENCE Awards in 1993 with Lena Horne and Tina Turner; a denim jacket given only to the crew members of The Blues Brothers; a Judith Ann Plus dress worn in concert and on the cover of Jet magazine and a pink beaded bustier and pink skirt worn April 17, 1993 in the Duets Concert AIDS benefit for the Gay Men’s health crisis, that included artists and celebrities Clive Davis, Rod Stewart, Dustin Hoffman, Bonnie Raitt, Gloria Estefan, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson and Robert DeNiro.  Julien’s Icons and Idols Rock-N-Roll sale will be held on November 9 and 10.






    Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

    The Rolls Royce

    A 1930 Rolls-Royce which once belonged to UK Conservative Rab Butler, who served as Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister (1962-63), Home Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Minister sold for 46,000 at auction today in Co. Laois.  The 3.7 litre Rolls-Royce Continental Sports Saloon was originally built for Elizabeth Courtauld, heir to the industrial textile empire, before passing through her family in 1946 into the ownership of Butler, known as the father of the British educational system.

    He once remarked that the Civil Service, “is a bit like a Rolls-Royce – you know it’s the best machine in the world, but you’re not quite sure what to do with it.”

    The car was purchased in England in 1995 and the engine was rebuilt by Irish Rolls Royce specialist Jim Boland.  It has spent the past 23 years in an Irish shed and is in excellent condition. There was a number of classic cars, including a working 1940s Model T Ford with a Cork registration, which made 10,500. The carvery unit from the former Jurys Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin made 3,000 and a Tullamore whiskey mirror made 2,000.