Buyers go GaGa for pop memorabilia at Dublin antiques fair

If you’ve ever fancied owning an Eric Clapton guitar; or Wham! lyrics handwritten by George Michael; or Lady Gaga’s pink fur coat, you might want to get yourself to the RDS in Dublin this weekend — but bring your wallet.

Buyers go GaGa for pop memorabilia at Dublin antiques fair

More than 15,000 people are expected to attend the two-day Irish Antique Dealers’ Fair, which will also feature classical items, workshops and talks.

Not everything is up for sale, but most items are, and while antique-lovers will be looking for bargains, there are likely to be some high-end prices.

For example, that Taylor guitar once owned by Eric Clapton is valued at up to €40,000.

For the same price, if you like your music a little heavier, you can get another guitar formerly owned by Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, while a guitar once owned by Noel Gallagher will set you back €30,000.

Down the price scale but every bit as collectable, a custom-made headpiece worn in Beyonce’s video for ‘Lemonade’ is valued at €8,000, while another headpiece, this one worn by Rihanna in a magazine photo shoot, is a little less expensive at €6,000.

There are also some artefacts likely to appeal to Bowie buffs — a Heroes lithograph, hand signed by David Bowie in 1978 and one of a limited edition of 120, is valued at €7,500, while another signed lithograph, this time a self-portrait, is priced at €6,000.

The pink fur coat worn by Lady Gaga during a photo shoot promoting her album Cheek to Cheek is valued at €13,000 — slightly more expensive than a custom-made black fedora hat, once the property of Michael Jackson, priced at €10,000.

As for George Michael memorabilia, you can get a custom-made Giorgio Armani stage-worn suit for €20,000, the same price for the handwritten lyrics to Wham!’s first-ever single Wham Rap.

Many of the musical items are being brought to the table by Dubliner Laurence Carpenter of Irish-based Pop Icons, who deal mostly in London, New York and Los Angeles.

However, the 52nd edition of the fair has more than musical relics on show.

Dublin antique dealer, Niall Mullen, is displaying a cold-painted bronze by renowned sculpture Josef Lorenzl, which was bought from international author Jackie Collins’ estate sale at her home in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, while interior designer Róisín Lafferty has blended antiques and contemporary pieces into four-specially constructed room sets and six additional spaces at the centre of the fair.

“Framing antiques with more contemporary pieces creates a more interesting room setting because each piece tells a story and has its own history,” she said.

“Mid-century furniture is appealing to everyone at the moment so the idea is to mix this style with the more classical items.”

Other rare antiquities on display include the oldest pieces of silver ever handled by Irish firm JW Weldon — a pair of Charles II Irish silver trefid spoons, made in Dublin in 1663 by Abel Ram and valued at €35,000.

Irish silver soup tureens made in Dublin in 1827 and engraved with the arms and campaign medals of Lieutenant-General Colquhoun Grant, who served in many colonial theatres of war and who had no less than five horses shot from underneath him at the Battle of Waterloo while fighting Napoleon, will also be on display.

Paul Brereton, president of the Irish Antique Dealers’ Association (IADA), said: “The fair is a fascinating insight into great craftsmanship throughout the ages, attracting collectors and connoisseurs of all tastes.

“For over half a century, firstly in the Mansion House and now in the RDS, it has been synonymous with quality — with all items having to be vetted before display.”

Admission to the 52nd Irish Antique Dealers Fair, which runs until Sunday, is €10 and tickets are available at the door.

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