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Saturday 16 December 2017

For sale: One coffin. Several careful owners, offers wide variety of uses

Owner John Vaughan, from Bundoran, with the coffin which
goes under the hammer today
Owner John Vaughan, from Bundoran, with the coffin which goes under the hammer today

Paddy Clancy

PEOPLE are dying to know the potted history of this particular auction item.

A secondhand coffin which has carried several bodies - and helped smuggle whiskey - across the border is up for grabs at an antiques sale today.

The 50-year-old lacquered casket is easily the most unusual item in the auction.

And €100 for a place to rest your head for eternity possibly isn't a bad deal.

The bidding will start at €100, auctioneer Geoffrey Simpson of Viewback Antiques said yesterday. "In these recessionary times its an excellent opportunity for somebody to buy cheap and prepare for their funeral. New coffins cost €1,000 and more."

The coffin is for sale in Ballyshannon, Co Donegal. It was used to carry bodies over long distances to Ballyshannon where they would then be transferred, before burial, into a coffin bought by the family.

"It was built around the late 50s or early 60s," Mr Simpson added. "There was a lot of cross-border smuggling in those days and the coffin had an important secondary role.

"If the hearse driver was stopped by the Customs he would explain that he was returning with a body from Dublin. They never asked to open it."

Irish Independent

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