The two-day auction of the contents of Howth Castle’s library ended yesterday raising €750,000.
The sale was conducted by Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers who said it was ‘the most important literary sale to take place in Ireland for decades’ and generated enormous international interest.
The library sale followed the sale of the rest of the contents of Howth Castle earlier this month, which sold for over €2.1 million.
Howth Castle’s library contained countless items of immense historical significance dating from the Gaisford-St Lawrence family’s 800-year residence at the castle.
The highest prices piece in the sale was a complete original copy of Ippolito Rosselini’s history of Egypt, including three volumes of magnificently illustrated plates, which sold for €74,000.
This museum-quality piece is believed to be the finest remaining piece in existence, a gift from the Duke of Northumberland.
One of the headline items in the sale was the vast archive of letters from recently beatified Saint John Henry Newman, which sold for €28,000.
A significant archive of correspondence addressed to Thomas Gaisford, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, including a letters from five former British Prime Ministers of enormous historical significance, which sold for €20,000.
Commenting on the sale, George Mealy of Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers said; “This sale closes the 800- era of the Gaisford St Lawrence’s residence at Howth Castle.
“There was a huge amount of international interest in the sale and we are delighted that the total value greatly surpassed our expectations.
“There was also a lot of interest from local bidders in Howth and they will be very happy to know that many of the most significant items will remain in Ireland.’’
George went on to say; “This is the most important literary sale to happen in my lifetime. Not only were there exceptionally rare and valuable items, there are also items of immense importance to Irish and British history that would be of interest to dozens of academic institutions.’’
Full details of sale of the Library Sale at Howth Castle, including the full results of the auction, can be found at www.fonsiemealy.ie.