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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Auction bidders buy some of that Haughey glitz

Published 24/06/2009 | 00:00

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THE man who became synonymous with Charvet shirts probably never dreamed they'd end up selling the family silver.

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But it duly came to pass yesterday, with a collection of silverware that adorned the home of the late CJ Haughey for years going under the hammer because there is no longer room for it.

Many of the items on auction from Abbeville fetched two, three or even four times their pre-sale estimate.

"Everything sold," James O'Halloran, managing director of auction house James Adams, said yesterday.

"And pretty much everything sold above their estimates."

But how much was that due to the quality of pieces themselves or the profile of their owner?

"I'd say their owner, by and large," Mr O'Halloran said.

"The basis of the initial valuations is what similar items are making at the moment. The fact that things made well in excess of their estimates is because they were from CJH's collection."

Chief among them yesterday was a large Irish Celtic Revival salver that weighed in at 54 ounces and had an estimate of up to €3,000. It sold quickly for €4,200, setting the pace for the less valuable items that followed.

The circular strawberry dishes, condiment sets, sauce boats and cream jugs that made up much of the collection were largely unremarkable, but each had a unique selling point -- they may have graced the table at Abbeville's fine dining room. And, indeed, they may have been used by the former Taoiseach in his pomp, as he held court for VIPs, millionaires and dignitaries.

The sauce boats went for €1,200, more than twice their estimate; the George III helmet-shaped sugar bowl for €620, also double. The auction room wasn't full, but the bidding was brisk. And sometimes the auctioneer gave that bidding a push.

"I'd say there was a bit of wine tasted on those," he said when a wine taster from Abbeville failed to grab the imagination. It nonetheless sold for three times its guide price.

The silverware auction was the latest in a number of auctions of works from Abbeville as the Haughey family will be unable to store everything in the future.

"We've sold quite a lot of artwork, some furniture and then this," Mr O'Halloran said. "What they sold you might describe as the residue, but there was a lot of nice quality things."

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