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Friday 9 December 2016

Clerys gold key and Pearse cheque in €70m RDS antiques sale

Garret Weldon with the gold Clerys key
Garret Weldon with the gold Clerys key

A solid gold key and a cheque signed by Padraig Pearse are among the remnants of Clerys that will be auctioned this weekend.

The key - which weighs two ounces and is valued at €12,000 - is one item among thousands collectively worth €70m for sale at the 50th Irish Antique Dealers Fair at the RDS.

"The key is from the time Clerys was formally re-opened after being burned down during the 1916 Rising," said Jimmy Weldon of JW Weldon antique dealers.

The business bought the contents of the relatively unknown Clerys Museum from an unnamed source who acquired them after the store's liquidation this summer.

"The key was made by renowned goldsmith Langley Arthur of Dublin," said Mr Weldon. "It was presented to the wife of Christoper Murray, who was a director of Clerys, on August 9, 1992. It is beautifully designed."

It is also inscribed with the names of the builders, architects and the foreman of works.

Members of the public can also view a cheque signed by Padraig Pearse, made out to the store in 1909 for £10 for linen.

There is another cheque on display signed by the Guiney family in 1941 for the purchase of the O'Connell Street premises. The store cost them £250,000.

A 500-page accounts ledger which details the store's profits and losses for each year between 1883 and 1923 forms part of the memorabilia.

The ledger is valued at between €4,000 and €5,000.

"Several ledgers show the setting up and division of shares, and also to do with the cost of rebuilding Clerys after the Rising," said Mr Weldon.

"They have some beautiful copperface writing and no mistakes.

"We also have prints and photographs of the building at different times. They are historic and a real part of Dublin.

"It has a sad tinge about it, because of what happened to the store and the workers.

"There has been considerable interest in them so far."

Mr Weldon said the preferred option is for the collection to be bought by a public body.

"We would hope that they all stay together, as a group," he said. "We don't want them dispersed because they hold so much history.

"There is a gross value of €30,000 for the lot."

One of the first people to view the collection was Gerry Markey from Finglas, who worked at Clerys for 34 years before its sudden closure last June 12.

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