Collector wants to swap a Ferrari for a vintage caravan
Slice of pure 1960s Americana worth about €50,000 the main attraction at Laois auction
The 1964 Airstream Land Yacht Safari for sale at Victor Mee Auctions in Co Cavan. Photograph: Michael Donnelly
There’s money in nostalgia. One of the most exciting lots at Co Cavan-based Victor Mee Auctions upcoming sale is a 1964 Airstream Land Yacht Safari, a gloriously curved embodiment of 1960s Americana.
It actually shimmers, thanks to its aluminium exterior and interior, but is, essentially, a very upmarket caravan that will draw attention wherever you choose to park it. And that is part of its appeal.
The four-berth caravan has wooden countertops, a checkerboard floor, gingham curtains and an awning that was designed to provide shade but in an Irish climate will also help keep the rain at bay. In pristine condition, it has had just a couple of 21st-century additions; solar panels that sit the roof and a flat-screen TV. The vehicle is expected to make up to €50,000.
For antique dealer Niall Mullen, the ringmaster who compiled the catalogue, it feels like stepping back in time to the 1960s. Mullen, who turned-over €600,000 from February’s Celtic Tiger clearance, which included Game of Thrones-style bronze doors from Howl at the Moon, has several parties interested in the Airstream. It is one of many items to go under the hammer at the sale which takes place on Tuesday, June 19th and Wednesday, June 20th. What he’s most excited by is the fact that one would-be buyer has consigned a 1979 red Ferrari that the vendor hopes will fund his Airstream purchase.
Another must-see lot is the 35-piece 1950s carousel that was found in Co Donegal and is in original condition, bar some chipped paintwork, that is guiding between €10,500 and €17,500 as a single lot.
Café en Seine
The sale also features much of the decor of Café en Seine, one of Dublin’s original superpubs and includes a 7½ foot grizzly bear, complete with boxing gloves. The bear was just one of the many items purchased in Atlanta and shipped to Ireland in 40ft containers to dress the Dawson Street watering hole. With a guide price of between €3,000 and €5,000, Mullen says a world-famous film-maker has expressed an interest in it but is staying tight-lipped on naming them. There are also numerous art nouveau-style bronzes guiding from €500-€5,000.
The sale will also include some more practical items; fully-lined curtains from the Shelbourne Hotel that have a 12ft drop, ideal for period homes, are guiding between €200 and €300 per pair and leather wingback chairs that came out of what was The Four Seasons Hotel in Ballsbridge are guiding between €300 and €500 each. However, furniture isn’t what’s exciting would-be attendees on social media.
People are no longer interested in sideboards, says Mullen. “They want taxidermy, enamel pub signs and other talking-point buys. It’s a fashion but it is better than buying something new that will be consigned to a skip in 10 years’ time.”
Viewing takes place from Thursday, June 14th to Monday, June 18th, 10am to 6pm daily.