Lots for radio enthusiasts for sale from the museum owner’s personal collection

The 1947 All Ireland Senior Football Championship Final had a remarkable impact on the life of the late Pat Herbert, who established the Ye Old Hurdy Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio in the Martello North Tower in Howth.

His private collection of old radios, gramophones and phonographs, along with a large collection of blue and brown Victorian meat platters and rare tenor John McCormack records, will be auctioned by Oliver Usher this Tuesday, March 8.

Mr Herbert spent 17 years at his museum in Howth until his death in 2020, and his family intends to continue celebrating his legacy there. What constitutes this sale is the private collection he has built up since the 1950s.

A nice short animated video on You Tube, The light by Rikke Houd, illustrated by Anthony Calvert, tells the story of when Mr. Herbert first heard the radio. This All-Ireland Final, which was the 60th event of its kind and the only one ever held outside of Ireland, was held at the Polo Grounds in New York. Said to cater to the large Irish-American community, it was intended to observe the centenary of the Irish Famine, which triggered mass emigration to the United States.

“From memory it was a family called the Lammonds who bought a radio, so the whole village of Co Mayo was invited to listen to the game,” recalls Simon, Mr Herbert’s son. “Dad, who was ten at the time, remembered how all the children were gathered outside the farmhouse while the inside was full of adults. It was the first time he had seen artificial light – what he called the “magic eye” of radio – as he was mesmerized by the voice of Michael O’Hehir describing the game from across the ocean in New York. He often laughed that the radio waves had fried his brain and turned him into a collector.

During his lifetime, Mr. Herbert collected over 500 radios and established the Vintage Radio Museum at the Martello Tower in 2003, when he retired as a foreman at construction company PJ Walls . His collection of GAA memorabilia was “second to none” according to Simon, and “lots of his GAA stuff was on display at the Tuning In – From Wireless to WiFi exhibition at Croke Park in 2019”.

Radio from the collection of the late Pat Herbert

Disc of poetry by WB Yeats, which is read by Yeats, Siobhán McKenna and Michael Mac Liammoir, which will be offered at the sale Oliver Usher from the collection of Pat Herbert

Poetry Record by W.B. Yeats

Mr Herbert started collecting radios in the mid-1950s when vinyl was introduced and also started collecting needles – which are part of the sale – as the black spines were used to play records due to rationing needles during the war years.

The most interesting in the catalog is lot 428, which is a vinyl record of poetry by WB Yeats, read by Yeats himself, with Siobhán McKenna and Micheál Mac Liammóir. None of the lots have an estimate, “because they all need cleaning” according to Oliver Usher, so there could be great value to be had in this most interesting collection.

Elsewhere, Hegarty’s of Bandon will hold its fifth sale so far this year, tomorrow Sunday March 6. Highlights include a beautiful restored mahogany Georgian dwarf linen press (€900-€1,200) and a neat mahogany and cord marquetry secretary bookcase (€900-€1,200). Tomorrow will also be the North Leinster Antiques, Vintage & Collectables Fair at the Pillo Hotel in Ashbourne, Co Meath. On sale, antique and retro furniture as well as vintage fashion, trinkets and collectibles.

Radio from the collection of the late Pat Herbert

Some of the radios from the late Pat Herbert's collection

Radio from the collection of the late Pat Herbert

Currently open and ending March 8, Fonsie Mealy’s online timed sale of rare books and collectibles, which includes the libraries of the late Henry (Harry) McDowell of Celbridge Lodge, Co Kildare and Dr Nora Liddy of Wexford, with 700 lots comprising republican, sports and general history material.

Next Sunday, March 13, Mullen’s of Laurel Park will hold a classic and contemporary interiors sale of 600 furniture lots, featuring furniture from Dunbrody House and items such as curtains from the Dorchester Hotel in London, which has undergone renovations. The contents of a Kenilworth Square house in Rathmines and a design shop in South County Dublin are also featured. Among the highlights, a Georgian fireplace in sculpted white and green marble with insert (€3,000 to €5,000); a Victorian happiness-of-the-day in blackened walnut (€2,000-3,000) and a serpentine sideboard in mahogany and rosewood stamped W and J Hicks (€500-700).

Cartier Diamond and Tourmaline Watch ($20,000-30,000/€18,020-27,030) Sotheby's

Cartier Diamond and Tourmaline Watch ($20,000-30,000/€18,020-27,030) Sotheby’s

1940s Black Opal and Diamond Bracelet ($30,000-$50,000/€27,030-€45,040) Sotheby's

1940s Black Opal and Diamond Bracelet ($30,000-$50,000/€27,030-€45,040) Sotheby’s

Restored Georgian dwarf linen press €900-1,200 Hegarty's of Bandon

Restored Georgian dwarf linen press €900-1,200 Hegarty’s of Bandon

On the international auction scene, Sotheby’s in New York will organize two sales this week that will appeal to lovers of fine jewelry and Chanel. The Chanel collection of handbags and accessories on March 8 includes a variety of objects, jewelry and clothing from the luxury French fashion house, with a large part of the lots designed under the direction of creative director Karl Lagerfeld from 1983 to 2019. The following day, March 9, the auction house will hold its major jewelry sale, with coveted delights from Cartier, Bulgari and Van Cleef & Arpels to what the catalog describes as “vibrant colored stones and groovy hardstone and gold coins”.

usherauctions.com, hegartyantiques.com, fonsiemealy.ie, vintageireland.eu and sothebys.com

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