Fancy Owning a Real Piece of Irish Whiskey History?
Christmas Shopping and Whiskey Auctions
My next article here will see me reccomending / suggesting some slighly unusual or quirky Irish Whiskeys as Christmas presents for the Whiskey aficionado in your life. It should be published here in the next day or so in time for some weekend Christmas whiskey shopping.
It is always difficult to buy a whiskey for a whiskey expert, so I plan to suggest a choice of slightly unusual or overlooked Irish Whiskeys that any Irish Whiskey geek (including myself) would be delighted to receive as a present on Christmas Day.
I was in the middle of putting the finishing touches to that article last night when I received an email from an Irish auction house alerting me at very short notice to a quite special whiskey auction taking place tomorrow 5th December in Belturbet, Co. Cavan here in Ireland. Some very serious whiskey history here and maybe even some very unique Whiskey Christmas presents there as well for those in the know.
The family owned-and-run Victor Mee Auctions, who are one of Ireland’s most reputable auction houses, have announced a vast array of highly collectable whiskey bottles and memorabilia to hit the auction block in their upcoming sale on Wednesday 5 December.
The Mile Hill Pub in Kilcullen and SeÁn’s Bar in Athlone.
Among the sellers represented in the sale of over 750 unique lots is Gerard Markey of The Mile Mill Pub, Kilcullen, Co Kildare who has chosen to part with some prized possessions from his own collection and his father’s estate including a collection of rare Irish whiskey, advertising mirrors, and enamel advertising signs.
Gerard’s father – previously an owner of Sean’s Bar, Main Street, Athlone; – the oldest bar in Ireland and one of my own favourite Irish pubs in Ireland – began this unique collection, with some of the pieces originating from this very site. In the 1950s, he purchased The Mill Mile pub in Kilcullen, including the entire contents of the premises, from a gentleman known locally as “The Duke Murphy.” The pub – which features a traceable lineage back to the 1900s – also featured in the 1983 film Cal with actress Helen Mirren.
Over the years, Gerard’s father continued to collect whiskey memorabilia, adding to the original collection housed in the pub.
“Dad collected whiskey and memorabilia from across Ireland, relying on word of mouth and visiting auction houses up and down the country. With sources including a glass representative who kept his ear to the ground for pubs closing down, my father had a network of informants who would let him know when unique pieces were up for sale.”
Inspired by his father’s growing collection, Gerard also began collecting unique pieces in the mid to late 1970s.
“I worked in the pub part-time in the evening and at weekends whilst holding up my day job,” said Gerard “I was fortunate enough to be working in Dublin City frequently and got to know the antique dealers and shops very well. They would always tip me off if they got anything they thought I’d be interested in, and at that time there was only a small handful of collectors drawn to whiskey and pub memorabilia, so competition was less fierce than it is now.”
Following the death of his father, Gerard purchased the pub in 2002 including its contents and his father’s collection of whiskey and pub memorabilia.
“Coming from a family with a strong history of pub men, it felt natural to hold on to these family treasures over the years,” said Gerard. “Over the recent years, however, I’ve felt that it was time to let go and start again, and I look forward to turning my collecting passion to my interest in motor sports in the future.”
Commenting on the head-turning pieces included in next week’s sale auctioneer Bryan Mee said,
“We are delighted to have teamed up with Gerard to sell key items from his and his father’s collections. Sourced with care and an incredibly level of knowledge over the years, our team will be placing these unique and historic pieces with new owners who will appreciate the value of high-quality Irish whiskey memorabilia.”
Included in the unique pieces up for sale next week are a 10-year-old Powers Whiskey flagon cased in a wicker basket. Believed to be distilled in the 1940s, it is incredibly rare for whiskey to be found in these antique flagons and the team at Victor Mee expect this to gain considerable interest form bidders.
George Roe Whiskey at just €6,000!
One of the more expensive exhibits is an original bottle of George Roe 16 Year Old Irish Whiskey with an auction estimate of €6,000 to €12,000. It might be of interest to Diageo as they commence building on their new Roe and Co. Distillery in Dublin’s Guinness Campus.
American Wooden Cash Register from 1892
Also of interest to keen bidders is a wooden NCR cash register dated from 1892. One of the first of its type to cross the Atlantic from Ohio, the piece includes its shipping document which is pasted on the under-side of the register along with its serial number which will add to the piece’s value.
1940’s Jameson and Egans of Tullamore
Bidders are also keen to have the chance to swipe one of three bottles of 1940s Jameson P&H Egan’s of Tullamore, purchase directly from the company. “In 2015 the company purchased back some of these bottles following the Egan family’s drive to resurrect their family brand in 2013 when family members from across the globe came together and reformed P&H Egan’s Limited,” said Gerard.
“The reason we have three bottles of Old Jameson Egan’s of Tullamore whiskey is that we had a fire in the pub back in 1972. During the renovation, some stock was moved to outbuildings for storage and had been forgotten about. These bottles were only rediscovered recently when sorting out the collection and I look forward to seeing what these lost treasures bring in at auction.”
For more information on this amazing Irish Whiskey auction and to browse a full online catalogue and bidding engine, See VictorMeeAuctions.ie.
I have my eye on the old home made copper pot still!!!