The 1400 lots, many market fresh, were described by the Co Cavan firm as “the largest private collection of pub memorabilia and advertising that we have ever seen”.
The two days were dedicated to the McCabe Collection gathered together by one family. Molly McCabe was the publican at E McCabe and Sons bar in Warrenpoint in Co Down, Northern Ireland, for her whole life, having taken over from her founding father, Edward, who purchased it in 1924. The bar was known locally as ‘Mollys’.
It was bought by her nephew, Des, in the late 1990s and thrived in the area until Molly’s death in 2011 after which it was sold. Des, who consigned the collection to Victor Mee, said: “As a boy I grew up bottling Guinness in the pub with my dad. As I got older I began to appreciate the design, graphics and branding.
“The pub was much more than beer and whiskey. It was a focal point to the community – a post office, tobacconist, grocery store, chemist and so the range of products and brands collected over the last 100 years reflects that.”
Some of it was gifted to Molly by US soldiers stationed locally in the Second World War. Some of it by relatives in Philadelphia. Some of it came from Guinness representatives visiting Mollys over the years brandishing advertising wares. Pieces have come from connections in the UK, some bought by Des and Molly at auction.
Among the items of whiskey interest was a large 2ft 5½in high x 6ft 5in wide (75cm x 1.95m) example advertising The Finest Whiskey In The World DWD Pure Pot Still Ten Year Old Extra Special, described by the saleroom as ‘extremely rare’, sold for a mid-estimate €7000.
Dublin Whiskey Distillery was based at Jones Road Distillery in Dublin – founded in 1873 and one of the ‘six great distilleries’ of the early 20th century in the capital – and was renowned for superior quality whiskey. All six are now closed.
Another promotional mirror, (80 x 60cm), this time for Brown & Corbett Irish whiskey, took €5200 against an estimate of €3500- 4500. The firm operated from Killowen Distillery in Coleraine until it was bought by William Boyd in the late 1930s. The distillery stopped production entirely at the start of the Second World War (although a Killowen distillery has recently been revived).