Hirohito's cigarette box turns up for sale in Cork


AN unusual gift presented to the wife of an American general by the Emperor of Japan after the second World War has unexpectedly turned up at an auction house in West Cork.

Hegarty’s fine art auctioneers in Bandon will tomorrow auction the oriental collection of the late Georgette Ellison, wife of a US General during post-war tours of duty in Asia. The most intriguing lot is a three-piece smoker’s set in silver and lacquer presented to Mrs Ellison by Hirohito who reigned from 1926 to 1989 and is known, since his death in Japan, as the Emperor Showa.

Japan fell under American military occupation following the war but the Emperor was allowed to remain on the throne although his divine status was annulled.

Auctioneer Margaret Hegarty said the smoker’s set, which consists of an ashtray and cigarette box on a matching tray, is estimated at €1,500-€2,500.

Other items from the collection – to be sold with low or no reserves – include Japanese netsuke (miniature sculptures), Satsuma pottery and jade pieces from the Chinese Qing and Han dynasties.

The auction also includes antique furniture, Irish silver and paintings and gets underway tomorrow, Sunday July 25th, at 4pm at Hegarty’s Auction Rooms, Parnell Business Park, the Bypass, Bandon, Co. Cork. Viewing from noon today.