Contents of five-star hotels reach €200,000 at Dublin auction

Padraig Conlon 19 Jan 2023
A Columbia Barber’s Chair (circa 1900), from the former Reads Cutlers, Dublin’s oldest shop, on Parliament Street, was snapped up for €1,650, having guided at €400-€800 at the two-day, online ‘Five Star Interiors Sale’.

The contents of some of Ireland’s most well known hotels sold for more than €200,000 at auction, organisers confirmed today. 

Irish and overseas bidders snapped up more than 1,100 pieces of furniture, artwork and collectibles following huge clearouts of the five-star venues during the pandemic.

All of the Celtic Tiger-style furniture, cabinets, chairs, lighting and soft furnishings from the Powerscourt, Westin, Intercontinental and Glenlo Abbey hotels sold – much of which will be given a new lease of life in other hotels.

“The auction had a remarkable sales rate of 97%, there was massive interest, people were buying both as individuals and commercially for hotels and bars,” said antiques dealer and co-organiser, Niall Mullen.

“Other corporate entities could have chosen to dump these materials during Covid but thankfully, the quality was recognised and they can be used again, which is great from an environmental point of view.

“It is brilliant that people are willing to give things a second chance.”

A John Morris painting of The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, was the single highest-selling item in the two-day, online ‘Five Star Interiors Sale’, going for €5,200 from an estimate of €1000-2000.

Dozens of other lots in the two-day online ‘Five Star Interiors Sale’ from Dublin’s Prussia Street, which ended on Wednesday night, (Jan18) came from private collections.

The largest price paid for a single item was €5,200 for a John Morris painting of the Shelbourne Hotel, which had an initial guide price of €1,000-€2,000.

The original ticket booth from Dublin’s Ambassador cinema went for €1,600, while a buyer from Boston had the final bid on an American barber’s chair from the old Reads Cutlers for €1,650, having guided at €400-€800.

A stunning Graham Knuttel work – Cocktail Girl – reached €4,400, while a lifesize bronze sculpture of a hunting hare went for €1,250.

Several lots from the former Buck Whaley’s nightclub and Larry Murphy’s bar in the capital, also sold.

A pair of Tara Crystal chandeliers, removed from a house in Dublin’s Sandycove, fetched €2,500, while a Theodore Alexander-made desk from Harrods in London, made €2,600.

“Auctioneer Aidan Foley was impressed by such strong bidding in mid-January and to have been able to give these items new homes was a testament to their quality,” said Mullen.

“At its height, 400 people were bidding for these lots online.

“Antiques dealers and auctioneers sometimes look at things and think they might not sell, but there was a set of 1970s stools from Glenlo Abbey which made €800 – they are so retro, they are relevant again.”

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