herald

Saturday 19 October 2019

Shop owner offered €10k for 'Virgin Mary' cabinet

Shop owner Tom O'Connell with the cabinet
Shop owner Tom O'Connell with the cabinet

Owners of an antique shop in Tralee, Co Kerry, have been offered more than €10,000 for a cabinet which appears to have an outline of the Virgin Mary on the door.

Damien Culhane, who works with Vintage Vendors owner Tom O'Connell, bought the cabinet almost a year ago after spotting it on Irish online marketplace DoneDeal.

Mr Culhane didn't spot the sacred figure on the door until a customer pointed it out 11 months later.

"It was built in about 1905 or 1910 in Hereford, England, by Greenlands and Co.

"I purchased it this year in Kerry. I saw a DoneDeal post and I didn't even notice from the picture at the time that there was anything special about it.

Suitable

"I just thought it was a nice cabinet that would be suitable for a section of the shop to display things," Mr Culhane told The Herald.

"I wanted to have it in my parents' house and they didn't have room. I dropped it down here to Tom in Vintage Vendors, took the door off it, stuck it in a wardrobe at the back of the shop and filled the actual drawers behind the door with vinyl records and it's been displaying records and bits of china for the last 11 months.

"We had the door in the wardrobe, and someone came in to view the wardrobe and bought it. We took the door out and put it back on the cabinet, and there was a statue on top at that stage of the Lady of Lourdes.

"A woman came in and she said: 'Oh my God, that's Our Lady.' She couldn't get over it, and then I looked at it and I could kind of see it. I took the door off and held it up the other way and it looks even better upside down," he said.

Locals have since been dropping in to kiss, rub and say a prayer next to the cabinet.

Customers have eagerly been bidding on the seemingly holy find, but Mr Culhane said the shop has no plans to sell the item just yet.

"When you look at the piece of toast that went a few years ago with the Virgin Mary on it, it went for $28,000," he noted.

"We've had several offers on the cabinet itself. We're not selling it, but they're quite high, over 10,000 - it's gone way above that," he said.

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