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The 19th century Native American outfit which sold at Fonsie Mealy for €320,000 (£246,150).

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The outfit - comprising an eagle-feathered headdress, hide poncho,war shirt, matching leggings and purse - came from the estate of the late Jane Avril de Montmorency Wright.

By family repute, it had come to Ireland through the family of Reymond Hervey de Montmorency (1835-1902), a major general in the British Army who married Rachel Mary Lumley Godolphin Michel, daughter of Field Marshal Sir John Michel, at Montreal, Canada, in 1866.

Mountain-sheep hide garments of this type, intended for best-dress events, denoted a man of stature and could be worn only with the approval of his community.

While all Plains Indians made war shirts, this example shares many characteristics - the porcupine quillwork, the painted colours and the motifs - of those made by the Lakota Sioux or Cheyenne communities in North Dakota and Montana.

War Bonnet

Laws surrounding the sale of eagle feathers dictate that the headdress or war bonnet could not be sold in the US, but the war shirt and leggings have great commercial value. Bonhams in San Francisco have sold several similar shirts for prices in excess of $100,000 in recent years.

Auctioneer George Fonsie Mealy told ATG the outfit had attracted a great deal of American interest before the sale and he had offered the lot late in the day to account for the time difference.

A bid on the book of €15,000 got things going comfortably above the €4000-6000 estimate at the auction on February 25, as eight phone bidders, an internet bidder and two American clients, who had flown in especially, battled it out. An American private collector via the phone eventually succeeded.

The buyer's premium was 22%.