Big spenders thronged a marquee in Co Waterford yesterday for the auction of contents from Mount Congreve.
The Schreiber Collection of salt glaze ceramics made €55,000 at auction, setting the tone for a recession- busting sale.
A 1969 Rolls Royce made €46,000. The car had just one previous owner and a genuine 68,000 miles on the clock. Auctioneer George Mealy, who opened the bidding at €20,000, said that it had been chauffeur driven for the late Mrs Ambrose Congreve. An absentee bidder chased the shell grey Rolls Royce Phantom VI to €45,000, but it was bought in the marquee by a Dublin buyer who wished to remain anonymous. He did say that he thought he had got a bargain.
Around 25% will be added to the €55,000 spent on the Schreiber Collection, and every other lot sold to cover fees and commissions.
The collection, complete with two specially commissioned Spanish walnut cabinets, was amassed by Lady Charlotte Schreiber, an ancestor of the Congreves of Mount Congreve, in the Victorian era. Sold along with two of her journals, it went to a buyer outside Ireland.
A 10-light George III 18th century chandelier made €44,000 over a top estimate of €15,000. A George III giltwood mirror c1760 made €32,000 over a top estimate of €25,000, a smaller George III Irish gilt wood mirror mid 18th century made €17,000, within its estimate of €15,000-€20,000.
A pair of William IV low open bookcases in the manner of Gillows made €17,000 over a top estimate of €15,000. A Louis XV ormolu mounted mid 18th century boulle bracket clock made €12,000. What was unusual about this was that it was within, rather than above, the estimate of €10,000-€15,000. Similarly an Aubusson tapestry four leaf screen sold for €6,000 with an estimate of €5,000-€8,000.
A 19th century Irish mahogany side table sold for €7,500 and a Neapolitan gilt wood side table from the mid 18th century sold for €18,000.
A mid 19th century Meissen tea kettle, cover and stand made €5,200, its top estimate was €1,500.
There is always a premium to be paid at major house sales, and this was especially obvious yesterday.
Household items, particularly curtains, did well. Two pairs of cream damask curtains estimated at €700- €1,000 sold for €2,800, two pairs of green foliate patterned curtains estimated at €200-€300 sold for €1,000 and five pairs of cream striped wood curtains made €5,400 over a top estimate of €1,200.
At one point auctioneer Fonsie Mealy put down his gavel at €480 and declared a modern flat woven carpet sold before discovering that there was another bid on the web. When he attempted to carry, the people in the room registered their displeasure.
He knocked it down for €480 with the remark that this was his first time using live bidding on the internet.
A number of the lots sold for at or under €500.
The second day of the two-day auction today will feature the most expensively estimated lot, a Regency Carlton house desk at €80,000-€100,000. There is much interest too in a cabinet reputedly owned by Marie Antoinette and a Chinese Yongzheng vase, each estimated at €20,000- €30,000. The library and Oriental art will also come under the hammer today, along with more furniture, ceramics, glass, tack and related items.