Belfast Telegraph

Cash in the attic... Earl’s clearout set to raise £60k

By Patrice Dougan

In these tough economic times many of us are looking to sell off a few old heirlooms to raise some spare cash.

However, not many will be quite fortunate enough to find an incredible £60,000 worth of antique treasures in their attic.

But the Earl of Erne is set to pocket this impressive sum of money after clearing out the attic and many cupboards at Crom Castle in Fermanagh.

As he prepares to auction off almost 100 items — estimated to raise between £40,000 and £60,000 — he said: “Times are hard, you know.”

The stately home — which sits majestically on the shore of Upper Lough Erne at Newtownbutler — has been the home of the Earls of Erne for centuries.

Now the family have done a spring clean of the castle and are getting rid of some of their unwanted treasures.

The 97 items will go under the hammer on Tuesday, March 20, at Anderson and Garland Auctioneers in Westerhope, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

Steven Moore, one of the auctioneers, said: “Lord Erne is having a little bit of a clear out.”

Among the lots up for grabs is a 1954 oil painting by late naturalist and television presenter Sir Peter Scott, entitled Snow Geese After A Storm.

The painting is the most valuable item included in the sale, with an estimated price of £7,000 to £12,000.

Almost 20 pieces of a Worcester ‘Green Stormont' pattern tea service are expected to fetch anything between £4,000 and £6,000, while a pair of 19th century Chinese blue and white taper stick holders, in the form of elephants, are valued at between £1,500 and £2,000.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the Earl of Erne was modest about the antiques he has put up for sale, branding them “car boot stuff”.

“It’s just a few things from our attic — things that have been in a cupboard for years and years and never got used,” he said. “It’s little bits of china — I don’t know much about it. My wife is taking care of this.”

He said it was “terribly important now and again” to have a clear out of unused objects, and added that the money would go towards the upkeep of the castle.

“This is a large house and every little bit helps,” he said.

“If you have things sitting in a cupboard they still have to be insured.

“We’re not selling off the family jewels — I wish that there were some. This is car boot stuff.”

Background

The current Earl of Erne (74) has been Lord Lieutenant of Co Fermanagh for the past 26 years. The twice-married father-of-five’s godfather was the Queen's father, King George VI, whose story inspired the award-winning film, The King's Speech. Crom Castle has been the home of the Crichton family, the Earls of Erne, since 1609. The present castle, built in 1820, is privately owned by the Crichton family, but the 1,900 acre estate is managed by the National Trust.

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