The madness of the King George III turf bucket

It's old, it's mahogany and it's brass bound but it's a bucket nonetheless

It's old, it's mahogany and it's brass bound but it's a bucket nonetheless. Still, it's now among the world's most expensive buckets having sold for €145,000 at auction yesterday in the James Adam Salerooms in Dublin. Orna Mulcahy, Property Editor, reports

Two well-known Dublin property developers fought it out by phone to buy the large Georgian peat bucket, which Adam's had expected to fetch no more than €20,000.

"Even at that price we had a lot of viewers saying "that's a very expensive bucket", said Adam's director James O'Halloran. "There were four other bidders in the room and others who didn't get a look in."

According to Mr O'Halloran the bucket, which dates from the time of George III, is special because of its size and its general quality. "It's very large - you could fit a family in there - it's beautiful timber and it's in lovely condition which makes it rare. Rarity will always draw people out, but we certainly didn't expect it to break the €100,000 mark."

A particularly Irish item of furniture, peat buckets were used to haul fuel from room to room and were designed to sit by the fireplace, sometimes with their counter part, the plate bucket, which was made to take plates to the diningroom and keep them warm by the fire. A slot opening in the side allowed the plates to be taken in and out with ease. Because they were practical, hard-working items, original peat and plate buckets in good condition are hard to find and imitations abound.

Far larger than the traditional bucket, this one stands 66 cm high and has a scallop shell on the front, a typical motif in Irish Georgian furniture, though not often found adorning buckets.The size and the decoration suggest that it was made for one of Ireland's grand houses. However, its provenance is not completely clear.

"We don't have a lot of information about it, except that it was in Dublin up to 20 years ago, and then went to the UK where it was owned by a dealer," said Mr O'Halloran. Now it's back and on its way to a good home. The buyer, like the underbidder, has a large residence in Dublin 4.