Country house collection to attract treasure hunters

All roads lead to Mount Congreve this weekend.

Rarity and quality will bring treasure hunters from far and wide to the magnificent house on the banks of the River Suir at Kilmeaden for what is undoubtedly Ireland’s finest country house auction in decades.

Notwithstanding the remark made to me by a director of Christie’s that it seemed easier to become a citizen of Switzerland than to acquire a temporary auctioneering licence in Ireland, the sale will be conducted by Mealy’s in association with Christie’s.

The Schreiber collection of salt glaze ceramics (estimated at €40,000-€60,000) will attract global professional interest. In all collecting categories the big money now is in pursuit of excellence and provenance and Ambrose Congreve’s collection offers both.

He was a determined, active, and discrim-inating collector over a span of more than 60 years. This auction will be competitive. Big hitters know all about it, not least because 120 lots from Mount Congreve brought in £3.4m (€4.2m) at Christie’s in London in May. But with estimates from 150 up there will be pickings for everyone.

There is wonderful antique furniture, rugs, chandeliers, Chinese ceramics, Oriental art, a magnificent library with over 250 lots, silver, plate, linen, and all the accoutrements of an exceptionally finely maintained country house down to a 1969 Rolls Royce.

Viewing is in the house, the sale will be conducted in a marquee in the grounds. Admission is by catalogue (€25 admits two) and viewing times are from noon to 5pm today and tomorrow, and from 10am to 5pm on Monday.

The sale is on Tuesday and Wednesday at 11am on each day. The catalogue is online at

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