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  • Posts Tagged ‘Fonsie Mealy’


    Friday, April 24th, 2020

    The Leonard McGrath GAA medal collection promises to be one of the top lots at Fonsie Mealy’s online Collectors sale which runs from April 27 until Tuesday, May 5. The collection of the Galway dual star includes All-Ireland, Provincial and related materials. A nine carat gold All-Ireland winners medal Celtic Cross with pierced decoration, central harp and Eire across, inscribed “All Ireland Hurling Championship 1923, won by Galway – Leonard McGrath,” is typical of a collection estimated at 15,000-20,000.

    Born in Queensland, Australia Leonard McGrath returned as a young child to Galway, where he was reared. He qualified as a teacher in 1918 and in 1922 was a member of the Galway Senior Hurling XV, winning a Connaught title. He was subsequently chosen and starred at full forward to win Galway’s first Hurling All Ireland. He showed his versatility in sports by also been chosen to represent his adopted county in football and played on the winning 1925 team, which also was the county’s first title in Football. He became the county’s first dual star, and only player to achieve success in both codes. McGrath is a member of an elite group of only 16 players to achieve this accolade, in the G.A.A.’s long history.

    He also played rugby and was a member of the winning Galwegians team beating U.C.G. 3-0 in the 1926-27 Season. This brought with it a caveat, he was duly expelled from the G.A.A. for playing a ‘Foreign Sport’.

    The sale will include literature, first editions, sporting memorabilia, Republican material, pub memorabilia and a wide variety of lots to interest all collectors.

    The Leonard McGrath medal collection. UPDATE: LOT 304 SOLD FOR A HAMMER PRICE OF 28,500 OVER A TOP ESTIMATE OF 20,000.


    Tuesday, March 10th, 2020

    Memories of the goodwill shown by those working in the Irish theatre towards the arts in general and visual art in particular are contained in a lot at Fonsie Mealy’s Spring Rare Book Sale in Castlecomer on March 11. Lot 608 is a large Irish linen printed handkerchief sold by the Irish players at $1 towards a building for Sir Hugh Lane’s gift of paintings for Ireland. Dated April 1913 it is illustrated with a group scene of players and individual portraits, signed by W.B. Yeats, Lady Augusta Gregory and folded in its original envelope. The lot contains Irish plays by Yeats, Synge, William Boyle and Lady Gregory toured under the direction of Alfred Wareing in the summer of 1906. Consigned by Lady Gregory’s grand daughter Mrs. Catherine Kennedy, it is estimated at 250-350.

    A nephew of Lady Gregory, Sir Hugh Lane established Dublin’s Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, the first known public gallery of modern art in the world. He was among the victims of the Lusitania disaster in 1915.



    Sunday, March 8th, 2020

    There is history, travel, sporting memorabilia and much more at Fonsie Mealy’s Rare Book sale in Castlecomer on March 11.  The catalogue lists more than 900 lots covering a broad range of interests including literature, history, racing, an 1820 book on zoology from the library at Doneraile Court, folklore, local history and legends, maps, military history, postcards, sporting programmes and a miniature stamped sample of a hurley signed by Ollie Walsh. Travel may be going off the menu right now but the sale boasts a rare travel guide from the last days of the Georgian period.  The first English (1832) edition of Tour in England, Ireland and France in the years 1828-29 by the German nobleman Prince Hermann Ludwig Heinrich von Puckler-Muskau is estimated at €300-400. He observed the manners and customs of the inhabitants and offered anecdotes about distinguished public characters in a series of letters.

    A catalogue for the 1952 All Ireland Hurling Final between Cork and Dublin, the first of the Leesiders three in a row, has an estimate of €80-100. There is an estimate of €3,000-4,000 on a scrapbook of a collection of rugby material from Karl Mullen (1926-2009) regarded as Ireland’s first “professional” captain who won 25 caps between 1947-1952. There are news cuttings and tickets relating to Ireland’s 1948 Grand Slam and the 1950 Lions Tour to Australia and New Zealand, match programmes, action shots and pen pictures.There is about 60 boxed lots for foragers.  The catalogue is online.


    The Karl Mullen rugby archive


    Friday, March 6th, 2020

    A facsimile of The Book of Kells – the most precious illuminated manuscript of the early Middle Ages – is among the lots at Fonsie Mealy’s Spring rare book sale in Castlecomer on March 11. It is from the first and only complete fine art facsimile, a limited edition of 1,480 books published by authority of the Board of Trinity College, Dublin. Published by Verlag, Luzern it comes in a specially created presentation box and is estimated at 6,000-8,000. More than 900 lots will come under the hammer.



    Saturday, February 15th, 2020

    With everything from longcase clocks, a Russian icons and a Killarney wood bookstand the Making Room Sale by Fonsie Mealy on February 19 offers much of interest.  The sale at The Avalon House Hotel in Castlecomer is by way of being a clearout.  This no reserve auction will be of interest to bargain hunters, collectors, interior decorators and home owners. Lot 323 is a 19th century Killarney wood bookstand typically decorated and inlaid with shamrocks, harp and ruins and estimated at just €100-150. There are Crown Derby urns, Victorian button back sofas, barometers, a selection of clocks and all sorts of collectibles including lot 83, a 19th century Russian School icon on panel with an estimate of €700-1,000. 

    19th century Russian School icon . UPDATE: THIS MADE 420 AT HAMMER


    Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

    A set of signed First Editions by Cormac McCarthy from the collection of his late friend Dr. Philip Murray of Sligo made hammer prices of just under 40,000 at Fonsie Mealy’s rare books and manuscripts auction in Dublin today. There was 29 lots in total. An archive of letters and pre-publication copies by the Southern American novelist of Irish extraction, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and numerous other awards, made 7,000 on the hammer, a first edition of Blood Meridian signed and inscribed by the author made 4,200, a first UK edition together with an uncorrected proof of Outer Dark made 2,600 at hammer as did a signed and inscribed first edition of Suttree.

    The sale realised more than 350,000 on the hammer with 85% of lots finding buyers. The most expensive individual lot sold was The White Jug by Jack B Yeats which made 18,000 at hammer.

    (See post on for December 7, 2019)

    A signed archive complete with a photograph of Dr. Philip Murray and Cormac McCarthy in Sligo.


    Saturday, December 7th, 2019

    An illuminated 1667 Charles II Charter detailing property grants in Cork city, minutes from an 1802 meeting of the Dublin Wide Streets Commissioners, a first edition of Ulysses, Republican documents from 1922-24 and Yeats family memorabilia are among a fascinating array of lots at Fonsie Mealy’s rare book sale at the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan on December 10. The catalogue – in itself worthy of a long, slow browse because of all the avenues of exploration it opens up – list 842 lots.

    The sale includes the Cormac McCarthy collection of the recently deceased Dr. Philip Murray of Sligo which spans lot 712-740.  Dr. Murray, whose extraordinary collection of first editions made 275,000 at a Fonsie Mealy sale in 2016, maintained a friendship with the Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist, author and screenwriter and the catalogue contains a photo of the pair of them taken in Sligo.

    The catalogue cover is Edward Bunting’s 1840 work The Ancient Music of Ireland arranged for piano forte, there is a fascinating archive of almost 500 Quaker letters in Ireland between 1770 and 1830 and signed first editions by many famous authors. Lot 481 is John T. Gilbert’s 1874-1884 Account of Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of Ireland from the earliest specimens to AD 719 in  four volumes. It contains some documents which were destroyed when the Public Records Office was burned down in 1922. The illuminated Charles II Charter was published to satisfy demands of the 49 officers who served in the royalist army in Ireland, remained loyal to the king and were not granted lands by the Cromwellian government.  It lists property in Cork city  held by catholics in 1641, forfeited under Cromwell and now granted to the officers who petitioned. The Civil Survey for Cork City and County, apart from the barony of Muskerry, has not survived so this is a document of considerable interest.The focus of lot 566 is on another period. This is a compilation of Republican serparatist periodicals and leaflets 1922-24 bound in a single large volume.

    From the Yeats family there is a trunk owned by Jack B. Yeats and held in a bank vault containing personal memorabilia of his marriage of more than 50 years  including the shoes worn by Cottie to their wedding in 1894.  Among the other items in the trunk was The White Jug, an oil on canvas by Jack B. Yeats of a colourful garden scene (3,000-5,000). The auction ranges far and wide, from a signed copy of Brendan Behan’s Island to the first and only edition of The Ancient and Present State of Youghal by Thomas Lord, dated 1784 to the heraldic grants to the Delaval family of Seaton Delaval, Northumberland to the Yeats family copy of Hilary Pyle’s catalogue raisonne of the Yeats oil paintings.  

    UPDATE: The Charles II Charter made 2,000; the first edition of Ulysses sold for 12,000; Irish Republican documents made 11,000; Toome by Seamus Heaney, limited to 15 copies, made 11,000; the Cormac McCarthy archive made just under 40,000 on the hammer; The White Jug by Yeats made 18,000 and wedding anniversary memorabilia from Jack and Cottie Yeats made 4,000.

    Minutes from the trailblazing meetings of the Dublin Wide Streets Commissioners . UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 2,000 AT HAMMER


    Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

    A rare pair of German 19th Century finely carved ivory relief panels was the top lot at Fonsie Mealy’s Chatsworth fine art sale in Castlecomer today. They made a hammer price of 15,000. Among the other top lots with hammer prices in brackets were a large stuffed and mounted Bengal Tiger head (7,500); The Wooing of Emer by Cuchulainn from the Harry Clarke Studios (7,000); an 18th century French Regence commode (6,400); an 18 carat gold mesh necklace set with diamonds by Boodles (3,500); a private collection of 18th century blue and white English porcelain (3,400); a Georgian Irish Chippendale style breakfront bookcase (2,800); a light grey Chanel handbag (3,300); a Spode dinner service (1,700); a 19th century Canton carved jewellery casket (1,500) and an embroidered Chinese silk robe (1,100).

    One of a pair of German carved relief panels of ancient battle scenes.


    Sunday, November 24th, 2019

    A reticulated Qianlong fish vase at Fonsie Mealy’s sale in Castlecomer on November 26 is similar to the Yamanaka reticulated vase that made just over £19 million at Sotheby’s in 2018. That one was one of the most complex porcelains ever conceived by Tang Ying for the Emperor Qianlong and was a pair to a controversial sale in 2010. That one sold at hammer at north London auctioneers Bainbridges for £43 million to a Chinese billionaire who subsequently baulked at fees of 20%.  After a two year stalemate the sale fell through. The vase was eventually sold in a deal brokered by Bonhams to an unidentified buyer from the Far East who is believed to have paid up to £25 million for it. The fish vase at Fonsie Mealy is estimated at a mere 6,000-8,000.

    Viewing is underway in Castlecomer for Fonsie Mealy’s Winter Chatsworth Fine Art Sale.  There is furniture, paintings, Old Masters, Irish art, silver, objets d’Art, taxidermy and an Irish private collection of Oriental ceramics and art.

    The Fonsie Mealy vase. : UPDATE – THIS WAS UNSOLD
    The Yamanaka Reticulated Vase


    Thursday, November 21st, 2019

    Among the more unusual lots at Fonsie Mealy’s Chatsworth Winter Fine Arts sale in Castlecomer on November 26 is this one. It is a 19th century Maori Pounamu green stone blade of about seven inches long. By tradition said to be used by a Maori chief it was subsequently gifted to Dr. T.W. Croke whilst he was Bishop of Auckland, New Zealand from 1870-1874. After this he became Archbishop of Cashel and Emly in Ireland and was an important figure in the Irish nationalist movement. He was a Champion of the Irish National Land League in the 1880’s and Croke Park in Dublin is named after him. The auction will include antique furniture, paintings, Old Masters, Irish art, silver, collectibles, taxidermy and a private Irish collection of Oriental ceramics and art.

    A 19th century Maori Pounamu green stone blade (600-800). UPDATE: THIS MADE 500 AT HAMMER