Founder of Sheppard’s auctioneers dies aged 92

Christy Sheppard was one of the country’s best-known auctioneers

Christy Sheppard with his son Michael, who now heads the business

Christy Sheppard with his son Michael, who now heads the business

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Christopher “Christy” Sheppard, the founder of Sheppard’s Irish Auction House – one of Ireland’s best known auctioneers of fine art and antiques – died this week aged 92.

He started the business in Durrow, Co Laois, in 1948 when he began selling second-hand furniture and in the following decades built a reputation for period Irish furniture that attracted collectors and dealers from throughout Ireland and the UK. He is survived by his wife Bernadette, daughter Angela and three sons: Michael, David and Declan who work in the family-run firm.

Christy Sheppard continued to keep an eye on the business long after his retirement and, in 2008, was present in the saleroom when a Chinese vase, valued at €100, sold for €110,000 – the first sign that the global phenomenon of Chinese collectors seeking out items of their imperial heritage had arrived in the Irish market.

Speaking to The Irish Times that day he said he had “survived numerous recessions” and “never had a flop” in more than 60 years of auctions.

His nephew Philip Sheppard this week said his uncle was proud that in his 92nd year, he had lived to see the auction house open a Dublin office in 2014 and to receive extensive international media attention when it was consigned an archive of previously unknown letters written by Jackie Kennedy, the former US first lady.

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