On Monday and Tuesday coming Cavan-based auction house Victor Mee Auction will host what it describes as its ‘best advertising sale to date’ – The McCabe Collection sale. It includes a bottle of extremely rare Monasterevan Whiskey. It's only the second one the auctioneer has seen with the first reaching 23K under the hammer in 2019.

Molly McCabe in her Warrenpoint Pub.
Molly McCabe in her Warrenpoint Pub.

This extremely unique, auction will see an entire publican collection that has come from multiple generations of one family, spanning over 100 years, hit the auction block. Part one of the never before seen two-part sale is due to take place online on Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th October at 2pm and will include collectors from around the world bidding on over 1,400 rare pub memorabilia and advertising lots. 

1880s quart size bottle of Cassidy & Co Monasterevin Whiskey
The 1880s quart size bottle of Cassidy & Co Monasterevan Whiskey

The sale items have been entrusted to Victor Mee Auctions by Des McCabe, nephew of the late Molly McCabe, much-loved matriarch of ‘Molly’s’ pub in Warrenpoint, Co. Down. Established in 1823, the pub was bought by Edward McCabe (Molly’s father) in 1924 and was named The Northern Star Bar before it became E. McCabe and Sons after Edward’s death. Molly’s brothers were never interested in the publican life so Molly, the eldest, left school at 14 years old and went on to manage the bar for the rest of her life. The pub became known locally as ‘Molly’s’ and today still proudly displays her name above the door. 

After many happy years behind the bar, Molly McCabe passed away in 2011 and the pub was sold. As Molly never married or had children, the items collected by the McCabe family over many years then became the property of Des McCabe who believes the time is right to pass the collection on to new owners.  The collection, which began with Edward McCabe, has been a joint effort from both family and friends of the McCabe’s, located within Ireland, the UK and Philadelphia, USA and grew during the war with pieces contributed by U.S. troops stationed in Warrenpoint and later in the 70s and 80s with the regular calls of Guinness sales representatives offering various pieces of advertising ware.

A J Vint and Sons Mirror
The J. Vint and Sons Mirror


In the late 1990s Des purchased the pub and formalised the collection, quickly realising that he was in possession of a collector’s paradise. The McCabe Collection sale offers bidders a rare opportunity to view and have a chance to own a diverse variety of early 20th century advertising, with a wide variety of different brands and forms of advertising represented in this collection. 

Commenting on the upcoming The McCabe Collection sale, auctioneer Victor Mee said, “We have been planning The McCabe’s Collection sale for many months, liaising with Des McCabe to learn about the history of the collection and the exquisite pieces within. We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to sell this magnificent collection that is like no other we have ever come across and are sure it will be of high interest amongst bidders globally. This is the first part of the two-part sale from The McCabe’s Collection. There are over 10,000 individual items that will be hitting our auction block and part two will be announced by our team in the coming months.” 

Discussing his family’s decision to part with these valued heirlooms Des McCabe said, “For many years my family has been collecting publican memorabilia and advertising pieces and we now feel that it’s time to open up the doors to our vast collection. It’s extremely emotional for us a family, as the sale represents the end of an era stretching back over 100 years. However, I feel excited about the possibility of adding to other people’s collections and seeing these memorable pieces being displayed, cherished and enjoyed for years to come.”

Items within The McCabe Collection sale include advertising mirrors, bar statues, antique bottles, advertising cards, water jugs, tin signs, glasses, trays, labels and much more. Bidders can expect lots from iconic Irish brands including Guinness, Old Bushmills, Murphy’s, Jameson, Beamish, Harp Larger, Smithwicks, Cork Dry Gin, Paddy, Tullamore Dew, Powers and Dunvilles to name a few. 

Irish Advertising Collectibles 

The Phoenix Beer items.
The Phoenix Beer items.

Having become known throughout Ireland and further afield for their expertise in pub collectibles, the team at Victor Mee Auctions is sure that the collectible items within the The McCabe Collection will excite publican collectors worldwide. A recurring trend within the collectibles section of the sale is light features with a unique publican twist. With estimated bids ranging from €50 to €400 collectors can take home a Gordon's Gin bottle in the form of a lamp with original shade, a rare Phoenix beer counter advertising light and advertising clock, or a Harp light up counter box. In addition, The McCabe Collection sale will also showcase three 1940s Carlton Ware Guinness lamps, all three with original self-revolving shades.

For those hoping to add some character to their home bar or drinks cabinet, The McCabe Collection sale will showcase several unique glasses and drinks trays. Estimated to sell between €40 and €200, bidders can take home a rare Old Bushmills Whiskey enamel advertising drinks tray made by J.A. Campbell & Sons or a Dunville's VR whiskey enamel advertising drinks tray made by Richard Paterson & Co Belfast. To add some style and class to a drinks tray or cabinet, Victor Mee Auctions will also offer bidders a pair of Babycham glasses, complete with a 1960s Babycham pictorial celluloid advertisement. 

Extremely rare Advertising Mirrors & Signs 

Victor Mee Auctions has had the opportunity to sell many highly sought-after and incredibly valuable advertising mirrors and signs over the years. This sale will showcase a range of outstanding Irish whiskey mirrors and Guinness signs. The expert auction house team anticipates significant interest in an extremely rare ‘The Finest Whiskey In The World’ DWD Pure Pot Still, Ten years old, Extra Special framed advertising mirror made by The Plate Glass Co S. M Co Ltd Dublin. This lot is expected to generate conversation online and is estimated to sell at auction from anywhere between €6,000 and €10,000. 

Several other Irish whiskey mirrors have been recognised by Victor Mee Auctions as ‘star lots’ including, an extremely rare Brown & Corbett Irish Whiskey Killowen Distillery Coleraine advertising mirror, a Locke's Of Kilbeggan Famous Whiskey advertising mirror and a Power's Whiskey John's Lane Distillery mirror in its original frame.

Advertising signs have become increasingly popular amongst both seasoned and budding collectors as they make great character-filled additions to any wall within the home. Two signs of particular interest that can be expected as part of The McCabe’s Collection sale include, a unique 1920s reverse painted glass J. Vint & Sons Belfast Old Irish Whiskey – Drowning The Shamrock framed advertising sign, estimated to fetch upwards of €800 at auction in October. Due to its simplistic design, a second sign due to invoke interest is a double-sided finger post sign highlighting ‘Johnnie Fox’s Pub – The Highest Pub In Ireland’, estimated to sell for between €300 to €500.

Historic Monasterevan Whiskey 

Welcomed into the The McCabe’s Collection sale, although not a collectible of the McCabe family, is Lot 992, an extremely rare 1880s unopened, hand blown full quart size bottle of Cassidy & Co Monasterevan Whiskey. This is the second bottle of Monasterevan Whiskey auctioneer Victor Mee has ever seen and sold, with the first bottle selling in 2019 for a record price of €23,000. 

The Corbetts Mirror.
The Corbett's Irish Whiskey Mirror.

This 1880s bottle of Cassidy & Co. Monasterevan whiskey, matured by the Cassidy family who made whiskey from 1784 until 1921 at their County Kildare mill, is estimated to sell at auction between €6,000 and €12,000, however, attendees at the auction could well see this unique bottle fetching a lot more once it hits the auction block. 

The bottle was sold privately to the collector by Tony Phelan the local auctioneer and antique dealer in Portlaoise and originally came from a pub in Portlaoise known as ‘Shelly’s Pub’. Tony Phelan was the auctioneer who sold the pub and it was his responsibility to clear out the pub’s contents before being sold. The majority of the items were disregarded, however Tony saw something of interest and value in the whiskey bottles, especially in the bottle of Cassidy & Co. Monasterevan whiskey.

This bottle of Cassidy & Co. Monasterevan whiskey is sure to light up the eyes of any whiskey lover or collector in Victor Mee Auctions’ upcoming October sale.   

Some Lots of Interest

  • Two rare early 20th century CIVIC Pipes advertising cabinets – estimated €500 to €800 each
  • Rare 1950s Guinness perpetual calendar – estimated €150 to €250
  • Smithwicks The Great Draught Beer light up box – estimated €40 to €80
  • Rare Mc Connell's Old Irish Whisky Cromac Distillery Belfast Pot Stills Only framed advertising mirror – estimated €4,000 to €6,000
  • Two rare early 20th century reverse painted glass OXO advertising signs – estimated €300 to €500 each 
  • Rare 1950s Guinness Is Welcome In The Home celluloid advertising sign – estimated €80 to €160
  • Guinness and Bass 1920s gilder slate advertising signs – estimated €600 to €1,200 each
  • Rare early 20th century Only Genuine Exide Parts Used Here enamel advertising sign – estimated €200 to €400




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