Maureen O’Hara’s legacy as one of the most famous stars of Hollywood’s golden era has been further cemented, after an auction of the late actress’s personal belongings sold for almost €420,000.
A cache of secret love letters which were sent to The Quiet Man star by the movie’s director John Ford proved the top attraction, selling for more than €70,000.
Almost all of the intimate, never-before-seen, letters which an infatuated Ford wrote in the months before filming of the award- winning 1951 classic in Co Mayo, were still in their original envelopes.
O’Hara, who lived in Glengarriff, Co Cork, in recent years had first met Ford on the set of the 1941 movie How Green Was My Valley. She had planned to destroy the love letters upon her death but in later years changed her mind.
Not surprisingly, personal items associated with The Quiet Man, O’Hara’s most celebrated picture in which she starred alongside John Wayne, attracted the most bids.
O’Hara’s personal and heavily annotated script from th 1952 movie sold for €47,000, while a tweed jacket worn by her character Mary Kate Danaher sold for just over €15,000.
Another highlight was O’Hara’s pair of Meissen porcelain, floral-encrusted covered vases which sold for nearly €30,000 — 10 times the pre-auction estimate.
Just a handful of the 240 items that went under the hammer failed to sell, including the jaunting car used to carry The Quiet Man’s cast and crew members from their lodgings in Cong, to the film set — which had been tipped to fetch a seven-figure sum.
Wealthy bidders from all over the world had gathered at the Bonhams New York auction for the ‘Estate of Maureen O’Hara’ sale, a vast collection of 240 items, including letters, scripts, clothing, jewellery and treasured religious artefacts.
Speaking after the auction, Bonhams spokesperson Catherine Williamson said: “The Irish style icon’s personal effects were volleyed between phone, internet and a healthy crowd of in- room bidders from Ireland, Europe, South America and Asia.
“It’s clear that O’Hara’s appeal is evergreen. She speaks just as much to young movie-goers as to those who saw her when her films first premiered.”
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