Rare advertising signs, framed mirrors and bar stools at pub memorabilia sale

Victor Mee selling contents of Cannons Bar, while Hegarty’s has two important pieces of old Irish silver in Cork

The contents of one of Castlebar’s oldest licenced premises, which dates from about 1911, will be auctioned by Victor Mee on February 6th and 7th in a live online sale.

Closed since 1989, Cannons Bar was a well-known Mayo institution, fondly known by locals as The Academy. The pub even has its own entry in the National Inventory of Irish Heritage that describes it as “an integral component of the early 20th century built heritage of Castlebar”.

The hostelry was a genuine traditional Irish pub, with bric-a-brac and memorabilia all over the place, serving as a backdrop to serious debate and great craic. But it will be the advertising signs — some of which are rare enamel models in high demand — that are the ones to watch in this sale.

Pub memorabilia is a passion for auctioneer Victor Mee and is a recurring theme at the Cavan auction house.


“We’ve been specialising in pub memorabilia, collectables and advertising for many years, but it will always be a privilege to be trusted with a legacy. Cannons Pub is renowned countrywide and we’re eager to do it justice.”

These genuine old signs have created interest all over the world and some are highly sought after, especially old advertising mirrors that have survived the test of time in a public house.

Listed with an estimate of €8,000-€12,000, and what the house describes as “extremely rare” is a Sir John Power and Son Whiskey framed mirror, heavily etched with gilded lettering by Wm Cleland, Belfast, which has its original paper label on the reverse.

A double-sided Guinness is Good for You enamel advertising sign is seeking €400-€600; while a rare, early 20th century Goodbody’s Greenville Plug and Irish Roll Richard Power’s Old Malt Whiskey framed mirror (€4,000-€8,000) is listed along with a Smoke Garryowen Plug it Satisfies by GSP lane and Co in Limerick (€250-€450). In 1929, Limerick had two tobacco factories, which imported leaves from the US, Egypt and Turkey, as well as using locally grown tobacco.

If you wanted to take home a slice of history though, you could opt for the collection of early 20th-century oak panelling and fireplace from the pub itself (€4,000-€8,000), or some of the bentwood bar stools, which are being sold off in pairs (€60-€120).

Two pieces of silver in Cork

Hegarty’s of Bandon will conduct a live online sale on February 14th to include two important pieces of silver. Lot five is an 18th-century oversized tankard from Thomas Johnson, Dublin 1783 (€8,000-€10,000) and the second piece is what the house describes as “exceptional Irish silver”, a Cork-made, George III provincial coffee pot from 1760, with the mark of John Nicholson. Engraved with a family crest, it has floral scrolling designs and an especially decorative spout (lot nine, €1,000-€3,000).

Jewellery sale in Meath

Meanwhile, on February 11th, auctioneer Damien Matthews in Kells will conduct a jewellery, gold and silver sale. With more than 500 lots. The auction includes executor sales, private clients and unredeemed pawnbroker pledges.

hegartysantiques.com, matthewsauctionrooms.com and victormeeauctions.ie

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Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle

Elizabeth Birdthistle, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about property, fine arts, antiques and collectables