Grab a piece of TV history at the ‘Penny Dreadful’ auction

Props from the popular TV series filmed in Ireland go under the hammer at Punchestown

Viewing begins on Friday in the Pavilion at Punchestown Racecourse, Co Kildare, for the Penny Dreadful auction – a mix of props and genuine antiques used on the sets of the American-British TV series filmed at Ardmore Studios in Bray.

The producers of the 27-part series have asked Ashgrove Auctions to sell more than 3,000 items, ranging from real taxidermy to fake oil paintings. Entry to the viewing, which continues daily until Monday evening from 12 noon-6pm, is by catalogue costing €15. The three-day auction starts on Tuesday, September 13th.

Penny Dreadful, starring Josh Hartnett and Billie Piper, was shown in the US on the Showtime channel and in Ireland and Britain on Sky Atlantic, and involved lurid stories set in Victorian and Edwardian London.

The auctioneers said that Philip Murphy of Naas, Co Kildare, a set decorator for the show, has been nominated for an Emmy and will attend the awards ceremony in Los Angeles next weekend.


Many of the fake items in the auction may interest fans of the show, hoteliers and publicans, interior decorators, and buyers of props for theatre and television companies. But there are real collectables – bought from antiques dealers and auctions – among the sea of kitsch.

Sarcophagus shape

“Genuine” articles include Lot 3056, described as “an exquisite matched pair of Irish oak wine coolers in the sarcophagus shape”, dating from the early 19th century and estimated at €4,000-€6,000; Lot 2940, a 19th-century “campaign” wash cabinet made for a ship’s cabin with a drop-down front to reveal tap and basin (€200-€400); and Lot 3238, a 19th-century oak gun cabinet, the interior fitted with drawers and gun supports, with a label from R&J Watkins, 40 Harrington Street, Dublin (€400-€600).

Among the numerous items of taxidermy is Lot 16, a brown bear cub, “mounted by Cougar Taxidermy, Sudbury, Ontario”, estimated at €200-€400. Priceless.