Tuesday 23 January 2018

Irish antique table set which Clinton and Mandela dined at sold for €74k

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

A fine Irish antique table and set of chairs at which Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela once dined with former billionaire Sir Tony O'Reilly has sold at auction for over €74,000 including fees.

The William IV period Irish mahogany dining table, thought to be by Williams & Gibton cabinet makers was sold to a telephone bidder for €37,000 including auction fees while a set of 12 Hepplewhite style mahogany wheel back dining chairs realised €37,380 at auction, including fees.

However the big ticket item amongst the Castlemartin contents which went under the hammer today was a pair of "extremely rare" 18th century gilt console tables which sold for €145,000 over the phone - earning a round of applause from the room.

The marble topped tables are understood to have been purchased by a dealer who operates both in the UK and Ireland.

Castlemartin Stud Farm
Castlemartin Stud Farm

Meanwhile a 19th century gilt wall mirror also from Castlemartin was sold for €2,800 including fees.

The only star piece from Castlemartin not to sell today was an antique Irish sideboard, withdrawn at €12,000 because it did not meet the reserve and which had been estimated at €20,000 to €30,000.

The room was full to standing point - but much of the real action was happening on the phone lines and on the web to buyers, split between 30pc to 40pc Irish bidders and 60pc from overseas.

Amongst other pieces going under the hammer included more modest pieces, including a dumb waiter mahogany unit which fetched €300, an Edwardian architects' desk which went for €800 and a burgundy leather library chair which rose rapidly in price, and was eventually sold over the phone for €2,100 much to the disappointment of several buyers in the room.

There was also some taxidermy amongst the collection - including a snarling tiger's head which fetched €1,000.

The items are from the private collection of Sir Anthony O'Reilly following his high profile bankruptcy, as declared by the supreme court in the Bahamas last year. The estate of Castlemartin was sold to US billionaire John Malone in December 2014 following a Commercial Court judgement for €22.6 million in favour of AIB the previous June. The contents were offered for sale "on the instructions of the trustee in bankruptcy appointed by the Bahamian Court."

The items were sold today by Mealy's auctioneers at the Longman of Kilfane pub in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny in a sale titled "Kilfane House: The Autumn Sale" since it consisted mainly of antiques, art and collectables assembled US businessman Hal Clarke of Kilfane House near Thomastown.

Only 40pc of the lots came from Castlemartin, with other items from the estate going on sale in the Mealy's winter sale next month. It  is not known what happened to the rests of the O'Reilly collection - which included some very famous art works.

Auctioneer George Gerard Mealy said that as a patron of the Irish arts scene, Sir Anthony O'Reilly's interest had also extended to a very fine taste in Irish antique furniture, saying the items from Castlemartin were "exquisite."

During the auction, the items from Castlemartin were clearly flagged - with Mr Mealy describing the name as having "the Midas touch" when it came to interest.

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