A clock, which chimes “God Save the Queen” and once stood in Ireland’s government buildings, sold at the recent Guinness estate auction, in Kildare, for $129,000 (€115k). The J. Waugh & Son Dublin, Irish Houses of Parliament Speaker’s Clock was expected to fetch between $78k and $101k at the Fonsie Mealy auction in Naas, however it sparked huge interest among bidders and the price soared.
The clock was most recently owned by Patrick Guinness, a direct descendent of Sir Arthur Guinness, founder of the famous Dublin brewery. This was among 700 other items put up for auction as Patrick and his wife Louise are selling their Furness home.
Auctioneers Fonsie Mealy described the mahogany grandfather clock, once owned by the General Post Off and Armagh Conservatory architect Francis Johnston, as “highly important.”
This amazing piece of furniture plays eight different tunes including the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen.” This is because it originally stood in Henry Grattan’s parliament in Dublin’s College Green, in the 18th century.
The clock was moved from Dublin in 1801 when the Irish House of Parliament ceased to be. This building was sold in 1803 to Bank of Ireland for the equivalent of $61k. Johnston was the architect of alterations to the building carried out between 1804 and 1811.
The 200-year-old clock was bought by Mayo businessman Frank Kerins, who loaned it to Leinster House in 2007. Sadly the clock suffered damage in the houses of government due to the building’s heating system.
Among the 700 items up for auction were several pieces of Guinness and Co memorabilia. This included a pair of metal-bound stout barrels inscribed with the company name. They sold for $2,587 (€2,300).
A set of colored caricature prints, entitled “The Gentle Art of Making Guinness,” sold for $1,800 (€1,600).
George Fonsie Mealy, the director of Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers told the Irish Independent, "This is an incredibly exciting sale, with many unusual items.
"Each piece has a story of origin, some dating back to the 1700s, and a collection as extensive and varied as this, with so much family history attached, is now seldom offered on the public market."
Patrick Guinness, who attended the auction with his wife, said, "We've been working on this now for the last fortnight and I think it has gone pretty well.
"Some lots go very well and others don't. There's always surprises, I suppose."