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Thursday 19 October 2017

Painting with €500 price tag sells for €120,000 at Irish auction: 'It was very exciting'

Jesus Wearing the Crown of Thorns
Jesus Wearing the Crown of Thorns

Kathy Armstrong

A painting that was expected to sell for €500 was snapped up for an incredible €120,000 at an auction in Dublin.

James O’ Halloran, Managing Director at Adam’s Auctioneers, gushed that the bidding for the Jesus Wearing the Crown of Thorns painting was "very exciting."

The 19th century piece went under the hammer in Dublin on Sunday and its popularity blew experts away.

Mr O'Halloran said: "For most people, you know, it was quite gory.

"But the internet bidder - one of the internet bidders - pounced immediately and put in a bid of €2,000.

"So at that point then I knew that we were probably going to get some degree of fireworks.

"Certainly [I] didn't expect the bidding to continue to the extent that it did."

Speaking to RTE's News at One, he continued to say: "I brought the hammer down on €120,000.
"It was very exciting."

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He also explained that this type of sale is a sleeper and said you never can predict what might catch someone's eye.

He said: "We haven't had one for quite a long time ... in this business you don't know everything and you can't know everything.

"Sometimes things turn up that somebody else sees something in."

It's understood that the painting's new owner doesn't live in Ireland and has not actually seen the piece in person.

Mr O'Halloran added that he stumbled upon the precious painting when he went to view excess objects that were being thrown out by an institution.

He said he had a look "amongst about a hundred things that were in a corridor, I spotted this and two other items.

"And it just stood out because ... the frame is fantastic; a beautiful carved and painted frame.

"There was very strong Italian interest in it, so that's all I can say at this point.

"I don't know where its destination is, ultimately, but it certainly is leaving Ireland."

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