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    Saturday, January 25th, 2020

    Following a highly successful year in 2019 the team of specialists at James Adam in Dublin is embarking on a nationwide valuation tour next week.  They will offer professional and discreet appraisals and hopefully pick up some interesting lots for sales in 2020. Adams say that the results achieved last year confirm that now is a good time to sell at auction in Ireland.  Their upcoming spring summer sales will range from fine art and period interiors to Important Irish Art, jewellery and watches, 20th century furniture and design, the library sale and historical document and artefacts.  Expert valuers will be in Belfast on Monday, Derry on Tuesday, Galway on Wednesday, Limerick on Thursday, Killarney on Friday, Kilkenny on this day week and Cork on February 2.  Appointments can be made by e-mail to

    This c1955 diamond riviere necklace by Mauboussin sold for a hammer price of €150,000 at James Adam in September.


    Thursday, December 5th, 2019

    IRELAND’S national archives, public records lost during a fire at the Four Courts in Dublin as a result of the Civil War in 1922, are to be recreated using virtual reality. Historical, genealogical and administrative records were lost. A new project, Beyond 2022, Ireland’s Virtual Records Treasury, seeks to recreate the lost records. It is led by Trinity College Dublin in partnership with the National Archives of Ireland, the National Archives UK, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the Irish Manuscripts Commission.

    Dr. Peter Crooks, Director of Beyond 2022, said: “The Four Courts blaze of 1922 was a national tragedy, but thankfully all is not lost. Beyond 2022 combines virtual reality and big data to recover from the losses of 1922 to a greater extent than ever previously imagined. The scale of copies and duplicates we have identified in other archives is astounding. We are already working with over 35 libraries and archives in Ireland, the UK and US. And this is only the beginning.”

    A virtual reality model of the digitally reconstructed Public Record Office of Ireland will be launched in June 2022 to mark the centenary of the fire.



    Monday, November 25th, 2019

    Thieves stole priceless treasures from Dresden’s Grünes Gewölbe early today. The Green Vault houses one of Europe’s largest collection of treasures.  At least three priceless 18th-century diamond jewellery sets were stolen, the General Director of Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Marion Ackermann said. The material value is low, the historic and cultural value is impossible to gauge she added.

    There is speculation that the jewel sets, with 37 parts each, may be broken up for re-sale. They are too well known to be sold legally. The sets are reported to include rubies, emeralds and sapphires. The collection was created in the 18th century by Saxony’s ruler, Augustus the Strong. One of the most valuable jewels normally housed there, a 41 carat green diamond, is currently on show in New York.

    The museum’s power supply was affected by a fire before the break-in. The energy supplier said it was investigating if the two events were linked. Police said power failure plunged the entire area into darkness, making video analysis difficult. Two thieves were seen on camera entering through a window and later escaping in a vehicle. Police said there may be more people involved.

    The Green Vault at Dresden.


    Thursday, November 21st, 2019

    A small private Irish collection to be sold at Bonhams fine wine sale in London on November 28 comes with an interesting history. The 23 bottles, with a combined upper estimate of £40,000, are the remains of an entire drinks cellar purchased in a private sale in 1955 for £500 – equivalent in buying power to £12,500 today. From the 1945 vintage there are bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild, Latour, Margaux, Haut Brion and Cheval Blanc as well as a case of Château Latour 1948 (£6,000-8,000) and five bottles of Cheval Blanc 1948 (£4,000-5,000). Most of these wines are all that remain from a cellar purchased by the vendor’s father from his cousin, based on a valuation by Berry Bros. & Rudd, who had originally suppled many of them.

    The auction will be led by wines from a Paris cellar, with an emphasis on Burgundies from top Domaines, Coche-Dury and Jacky Truchot.

    UPDATE: Irish cellar sold for a total of £78,400 including buyer’s premium

    A case of Chateau Latour 1948


    Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

    A 1,570cc custom Harley-Davidson signed by His Holiness, Pope Francis comes up at Bonhams autumn Stafford sale on October 20. Known as the ‘White Unique’ it was created at the suggestion of Dr Thomas Draxler, founder of the ‘Jesus Bikers’ group in Austria, as a fundraising vehicle, to be donated to the Pontifical Mission Societies (Missio), the official support for Catholic overseas missions. 

    The machine is finished in pearlescent white, with Chicano (Mexican American) style detailing, numerous gold-plated components, a Dorne wreath ornament, a sunken cross and Pope Francis’ signature on the tank. It is estimated at £50,000-100,000 and all proceeds will be donated to charity.

    The ‘Pope Bike’ being presented to His Holiness, Pope Frances’ in Rome 

    © Photo Vatikan & Jesus Biker UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR £48,300


    Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

    A portrait tracing the emotional connection between a new parent and her baby – Cybil McCaddy with Daughter Lulu by Enda Bowe – has won the National Gallery of Ireland’s Zurich Portrait Prize. Enda Bowe’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Red Hook Gallery, New York. His work is concerned with storytelling and the search for light and beauty in the ordinary. As well as a cash prize of €15,000, the artist will receive a commission worth €5,000 to produce a new work for the National Portrait Collection. The judges were Mike Fitzpatrick, Fiona Kearney and Mick O’Dea.

    The prizewinning photo by Enda Bowe


    Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

    The venerable London antique firm Apter-Fredericks is closing three floors of showrooms and moving to an online business model. In mid September they will vacate the Fulham Road premises, their location for the past 73 years. A company statement said: “Despite this change, Apter-Fredericks is still committed to dealing in the finest eighteenth century English furniture.  We are keen to embrace the future and operate in the new norm.  Our business will continue to offer fine and important pieces of English furniture to private clients, interior designers and institutions. We shall be available to assist in sourcing, selling and restoration.”

    The firm will continue to present our stock by website and will be available to view by appointment and at art fairs – specifically Masterpiece London and the Winter Show New York.

    “In giving up the shop with our three floors of showrooms, we find our storerooms rather over-stretched.  We would encourage you to contact us should you require any furniture or should you have been considering a particular piece of stock in the past, all of which will be sold at the most agreeable prices.”    


    Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

    A trumpet designed and played by Miles Davis, one of the most significant jazz musicians of all time, comes up at the Exceptional Sale at Christie’s in New York on October 29. The ‘Martin Committee’ Trumpet in B Flat, model T3460, by the Martin Co., was commissioned circa 1980 and features a deep blue lacquer and gilt crescent moon and stars, designed according to Davis’s specifications. The ‘Moon and Stars’ trumpet is estimated at $70,000-100,000.

    In a performing and recording career of almost fifty years Miles Davis produced many critically acclaimed albums and Kind of Blue, recorded in just two sessions in 1959, remains the best-selling jazz album of all time.

    ‘Martin Committee’ Trumpet in B Flat, Model T3460

    Sotheby’s to revert to private ownership

    Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

    Sotheby’s has entered into an agreement to be acquired by the art collector and media and telecom entrepreneur, Patrick Drahi after 31 years as a public company. Drahl is the ninth richest man in France.

    Sotheby’s ceo Tad Smith said in an announcement: “Our 275-year history has been marked by innovations that have not only changed Sotheby’s, but the wider industry along with it. And just over the past several years we have modernized and expanded both digitally and physically, and it’s clear that we are just getting started. Private ownership at this moment in Sotheby’s development would empower us to accelerate many of those growth initiatives and focus on long-term success. “

    Tad Smith

    Patrick Drahi is a knowledgeable businessman and a passionate collector who understands Sotheby’s and the markets we operate in, Smith added. He shares our brand vision for outstanding client service and has the patience to make that possible. There are no immediate changes to the business.

    Patrick Drahl is a French-Israeli businessman with French, Portuguese, and Israeli citizenship. He is founder and controlling member of the Netherlands based telecom group Altice and owns cable TV companies in Israel and the US.


    Thursday, April 11th, 2019

    More than 600 books and manuscripts lost during the Second World War were today returned to Bonn University in Germany. The repatriation was facilitated by Sotheby’s. The books were discovered in a Belgian private collection. This is one of the largest single returns of objects lost during the war. Among them are numerous historical works of high cultural and material importance, including medieval and modern manuscripts, medieval documents, historical maps, early 15th-century prints, rare prints of the 16th century and numerous colored bird books. The most valuable bird book is Audobon’s The Birds of America.

    How exactly the books and manuscripts found their way to Belgium is not known. It is possible that they were taken by Belgian soldiers in the years after the war. Curator of Manuscripts and Historic Books at ULB, Dr. Michael Herkenhoff said: Many valuable volumes were stored between 1946 and 1950 in a bunker in Bonn. They may have been stolen during the period of the Belgian occupation in Bonn.”

    Charlotte Miller, Specialist in Books and Manuscripts at Sotheby’s in London explained that in 2017 a large collection of books was offered to Sotheby’s from a private collection in Belgium. Many had their library stamps expunged, bindings removed or title pages destroyed. Sotheby’s set out to discovered the true provenance of the library. The medieval manuscripts were listed on Bonn University’s Inventory of Losses.

    Left: A manuscript of the “Comoediae” of Terenz, written in the 13th century

    Centre: Book of Hours, Use of Rome, in Latin [southern Netherlands (Bruges), c.1460-70

    Right: John James Audubon, The Birds of America from drawings made in the United States, printed in New York between 1840 and 1844 in 7 volumes