Friday 30 September 2016

Stuck for Christmas gift ideas? Head down to your nearest auction house

Published 13/12/2015 | 02:30

Phil Lynott's passport, which goes up for auction this weekend at the Whyte's sale
Phil Lynott's passport, which goes up for auction this weekend at the Whyte's sale

The run-up to Christmas is often the ideal time to snap up something at auction. You might be stuck for gift ideas - and so looking for a bit of inspiration. Or you might simply be hoping that you'll get something that bit cheaper under the hammer given that Christmas festivities and shopping mean many people are too busy to head to an auction and bid against you.

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Here are six interesting things set to come under the hammer before Christmas which might well be worth your while buying.

Walt Disney signature: €400

The autograph of the creator of Mickey Mouse and Disneyland is one of the more timely things being put up for auction in the run up to Christmas, given the plethora of Disney toys likely to be delivered by Santa in less than two weeks.

The autograph - which is in pencil - is on a slip of paper framed with a photo of Disney with Mickey Mouse. It goes up for auction at Whyte's sports and entertainment memorabilia auction in Dublin tomorrow. Disney's signature was estimated at between €300 and €400. However, by last Wednesday, online bidders had already bid €400. Whyte's auction kicks off today and runs until tomorrow. It includes material from Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, U2, Thin Lizzy, as well as cinema memorabilia connected to Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Laurel and Hardy and others.

Oldest international rugby shirt: Up to €30,000

The oldest surviving rugby international shirt in Ireland is one of the rarest - and more expensive - items set to come under the hammer in Whyte's sports and entertainment memorabilia auction.

The estimated price of the shirt - an 1899 rugby union jersey worn by the Irish international rugby team who were Triple Crown winners that year - is between €25,000 and €30,000. It was worn by William Grant Byron, a Derryman who played rugby for that county and served as an officer in the Royal Irish Rifles in World War I.

This is the earliest international rugby shirt to be offered at auction, according to Whyte's, so it could be a valuable piece of Irish historical memorabilia to own.

Phil Lynott's passport: Up to €2,500

Whether you're a Thin Lizzy fan or not, this passport could be worth snapping up.

The 32-page Irish passport was issued to Phil Lynott on May 31, 1974, and it expired in 1979. It's expected to fetch between €2,000 and €2,500 at Whyte's auction tomorrow. It is stamped throughout with entry stamps and visas.

Rare old map of Ireland: Up to €6,000

An old map of Ireland from the scarce Spanish edition of the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of 1612 is coming up for auction at Adam's, Dublin this Tuesday.

The Theatrum Orbis Terrarum by Baptista Boazio is important as it was considered the first true modern atlas when it was first published in 1570. The map - Irlandiæ - includes a tribute to St Patrick and is full of old Irish place and clan names. It is part of the Richard SJ Clarke collection.

Mr Clarke, who was born in 1929 and is now in his 80s, started collecting Irish maps in the 1950s when they could be bought in London for single sum figures. This map is expected to fetch between €4,000 and €6,000.

Le Brocquy-illustrated Tain: Up to €6,000

The Tain - probably the most famous tale in Irish mythology - tells the story of the teenage hero Cúchulainn.

This limited edition version, which is translated by the poet Thomas Kinsella and illustrated with brush drawings by the artist Louis Le Brocquy, goes up for auction at Adam's showroom in Dublin tomorrow. It is expected to be sold for between €4,000 and €6,000.

It is part of the Tim Vignoles collection of Irish books. Tim Vignoles worked in theatre and television and was a major collector of Irish literature.

A Lavery painting: Up to €24,500

A number of paintings by Belfast-born Sir John Lavery will go under the hammer at Sotheby's Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite and British impressionist art auction in London this Thursday.

One painting - Evening Tangier - is expected to fetch between €20,743 and €34,500; the other - Evening Tangier, Looking Towards Algeciras - has a price estimate of between €16,593 and about €25,000.

Sir John Lavery was an Irish painter well known for his portraits and wartime depictions. He was married to Hazel Lavery - better known as the Lady Lavery who appeared in the watermark on a series of Irish pound notes. So if you're a fan of Lavery or of Irish art, and you happen to be in London this week, this could be something for your collection.

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