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Viewpoint: Barney’s brush with the art world nets a fortune

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Belfast bookmaker and former boxing promoter Barney Eastwood

Belfast bookmaker and former boxing promoter Barney Eastwood

Belfast bookmaker and former boxing promoter Barney Eastwood

As a bookmaker and a boxing promoter the late Barney Eastwood knew how to play the odds and how to spot talent. He built up a bookmaker’s empire which he sold to Ladbrokes for £135m and also guided the careers of several world champion boxers, most famously Barry McGuigan.

But while betting shops and boxing rings may not appeal to everyone, it was clear that Mr Eastwood was a very cultured man, especially when it came to art.

His keen eye to spot a winner was evident when his art collection was put up for sale in London.

Put together over 50 years, the 30 pieces submitted to Christie’s auction house realised an astonishing £14m-plus, including setting new records for some of the artists’ works.

From his earliest days Mr Eastwood was a winner, being a member of the victorious Tyrone minor GAA team which won an all-Ireland title in 1948, so it was hardly a surprise that even after his death he was still ahead of the game with a collection which would have been the envy of many museums.

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