Gerry Adams puppet “worse for wear” after five years in pub
’Spitting Image’ puppets on way to museum in Northern Ireland after Dublin auction
Puppets of Nelson Mandela, Peter Mandelson and Gerry Adams sold at Whyte’s auction for a combined total of €2,150
Three caricature puppets – of Gerry Adams, Peter Mandelson and Nelson Mandela – made for the satirical British TV show Spitting Image, which aired in the 1980s and 1990s, went under the hammer in Whyte’s auction of collectibles in Dublin last Saturday. They were sold by Johnnie Fox’s – a well-known pub in Glencullen, south Co Dublin – which had acquired them five years ago in a previous Whyte’s auction. After being on display in the pub they were described as being “the worse for wear”. Auctioneer Ian Whyte said they had “suffered some damage” and the owners of the pub had decided to sell them as they deserved to be conserved and displayed correctly
Lot 227, a puppet of Peter Mandelson, depicting the former British secretary of state for Northern Ireland as a snake, made €300 – significantly below the €500 it sold for in 2012.
Lot 228, a puppet of Nelson Mandela, the former South African leader, wearing one of his trademark “Madiba” shirts, sold for €700 – less than half the €1,500 paid in 2012.
But this time, Gerry Adams was top dog. Lot 229, a puppet of the Sinn Féin president, made €1,150 – just a little under the €1,300 it made six years ago.
Public displayAll three puppets were bought by an as-yet -unnamed museum in Northern Ireland, where it is expected they will be restored and later go on public display.
The same museum bought a copy of the 1998 Belfast Agreement signed by 60 participants in the talks – including Tony Blair, Martin McGuinness, John Hume and David Trimble – which made €1,900, within the estimate (€1,500-€2,000). The signatures had been collected by an unnamed SDLP councillor.
The highest price in the auction was achieved for Lot 151 – the Easter Rising medal posthumously awarded to Joseph Plunkett, one of the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation, which made €40,000, at the low end of the estimate (€40,000-€60,000).
Last year, Whyte’s offered the same medal at auction with a top estimate of €100,000. Mr Whyte said “the good news is that the medal is staying in Ireland, as it was bought by a private collector in Co Donegal”. It is understood that the State did not bid for the medal and the unsuccessful underbidder was another private collector.
Overall, 80 per cent of the lots in the auction at the Freemasons’ Hall on Molesworth Street sold. Over 600 people had registered to bid and the auction was broadcast live on the internet. Of the 540 lots, 27 per cent sold to online bidders.
Star lotLot 203, a George V royal ministerial despatch box used by Seán Lemass in the 1930s, attracted considerable interest and sold for €2,100 – seven times the median estimate of €300. Lemass was a minister in de Valera’s government at the time and the British monarch was still, technically, head of state in Ireland. The black leather box, embellished with the gilt-tooled royal arms and “Secretary – Mr Lemass” on the lid, had been made by the Dublin firm A Armstrong and Co Ltd. Whyte’s said the box was the only such example they had seen.
The auctioneers said there was particularly strong demand for collectible coins and banknotes. Among the coins, Lot 400, a gold India “Mohur” coin, minted in 1862 and depicting Queen Victoria, sold to a collector in the United States for €1,800 – almost six times the estimate (€320-€350).
Among banknotes, Lot 486, a Hibernian Bank One Pound Token, dating from 1826, sold to a collector in Germany for €2,700 (estimate €1,500-€2,000). In fact, of all the lots in the auction, Whyte’s said that “coins proved the most saleable, with a 100 per cent selling rate, [and] banknotes next at 90 per cent”.
Lot 216, a memento of the second World War – “a piece of shrapnel recovered from Rathdown Park, Terenure, following its bombing by German aircraft on January 2nd, 1941” – sold for €290, below the estimate (€300-€500).
For more results see whytes.ie