Mealy's sale of the contents of Lotabeg House in Cork this week attracted the biggest crowd to any auction in Ireland for years. More than 7,000 people attended the viewing last weekend resulting, inevitably, in some delays. Auctioneer George Gerard Mealy said "people were disgruntled by queues on the way in but were extremely happy on the way out".
He said there was “huge interest” both from Irish and international bidders and that more than 1,000 people had registered to bid – in person or via telephone or online.
Overseas visitors to the auction included Nick Denning of Warehouse 51, a television production company based in London and Bristol, who was filming for a new series, Trading History, which explores the history of items sold at antiques auctions and by antiques dealers. The show – six hour-long episodes – is expected to be aired later this year by UKTV and by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the US and will feature Lotabeg and other Irish stories.
In all, some 760 lots went under the hammer in the marathon 10-hour auction on Tuesday and Mealy’s said 83 per cent of lots had sold for a total of €850,000.
Among innumerable highlights, Lot 500, a circular, mahogany William IV period dining table described as described as a "very important" piece of Irish-made furniture, dating from the 1830s, sold for €26,000 – within its estimate of €20,000-€30,000. It will remain in Cork – for now – as it was bought by Denis Lynes, a well-known antiques auctioneer based in nearby Carrigtwohill.
Lot 100, a painting of the racehorses Ard Patrick & Galtee More with Foal Frolicking in a Wooded Landscape by James Lynwood Palmer made €20,000 (€20,000- €30,000). Lot 567, a Meissen porcelain ewer (water jug) sold for €22,000 (€8,000-€12,000). Among the lots associated with the British Empire, Lot 527, a three-volume album of 92 "extremely rare and important" photographs of Victorian India made €12,000 (€6,000-€10,000); and Lot 498, Vincent Hart's Companion of the Order of the Star of India regalia made €2,200 (€1,200-€1,800). The "sleeper" was Lot 59, "a carved wooden ceremonial urn and cover", that was estimated at €250-€350 but sold for €11,000.
While most of the lots had come from Lotabeg House, some 120 items had been consigned by other clients including an unnamed “aristocratic” family in Munster, whose pair of paintings by the 17th century Flemish still-life artist David de Coninck, sold for €39,000 – below the estimate (€50,000-€80,000).
For more results and to enquire about unsold lots see mealys.ie