Virtual auctions a welcome distraction, writes Des O’Sullivan
In these times of isolation online sales platforms provided distraction and fun for collectors in Ireland last weekend. The sales by Aidan Foley last Saturday, Hegarty’s on Sunday and at Matthews in Kells over the two days of the weekend all went online at the eleventh hour.
As auctioneers responded with no small degree of trepidation (ultimately overtaken by a strong sense of aplomb) buyers adapted with ease to the changing circumstances. The sales were all highly successful.
Aidan Foley reports that at one stage during Saturday afternoon he had 150 bidders on the internet for his auction in Doneraile.
The pace was slower than it would have been normally but buyers stuck with it to the bitter end. What else was there to do on a Saturday night in March 2020 when so many of us were effectively grounded, perhaps indefinitely?
There were some spectacular furniture bargains at this auction, as there is always nowadays when it comes to antique furniture.
A mahogany pedestal desk with a tooled leather top, one of a number of desks in the sale, sold for €200, which was the middle of the estimate.
There was a similar price for an Edwardian inlaid partner’s desk in the manner of Edwards and Roberts. A Georgian linen press complete with fitted interior went for a below estimate €220.
A Victorian pine corner cupboard was, at a hammer price of €110, above the top estimate.
Among the other lots sold here was a red ground Persian runner (€220), a Regency Revival yew wood cylinder-top bonheur du jour (€150) and a secretaire bureau bookcase (€250).
At Hegarty’s in Bandon a fitted 19th-century burr walnut vanity box offered an early indication that this online sale would take off. It made €1,300 at hammer.
The painting Peony Roses by Mark O’Neill made €4,050 but a large Arthur Maderson failed to find a buyer.
A pair of rosewood side tables made €1,550, a 19th-century glazed secretaire made €340, a William IV library table made €1,550, a Regency brass inlaid fold over card table made €1,400 and a foldover tea table made €1,100.
The large cloisonne mantel clock featured last week on these pages made €420. An 18-carat white gold Burmese ruby and diamond ring made €3,600 and a ruby and diamond tennis bracelet made €1,400.
Ted Hegarty reported that he had about three times the normal number of internet bidders plus telephone bids and commissioned bids.
People bought furniture they had not viewed on assurances about condition and so on. It went extraordinarily well, he said.
Another online sale with the remainder of the John James collection from The Ramparts in Kinsale will be scheduled in the coming weeks.
Peony Roses by Mark O’Neill made €4,050 at Hegarty’s on Sunday.