Rare Maureen O’Hara memorabilia sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars
Memorabilia relating to Irish movie legend Maureen O’Hara has sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars in a US auction.
The auction featured 240 personal items such as scripts, clothing, jewellery and treasured religious artefacts and letters O’Hara had received from movie director John Ford.
O’Hara is one of the most of the most iconic stars of Hollywood’s golden era and the memorabilia attracted wealthy bidders from around the world.
The ‘Estate of Maureen O’Hara’ auction took place at Bonhams, New York.
The highest selling items were a collection of love letters written to O’Hara by director John Ford, who was infatuated with the star.
The letters were written before filming started on the award winning movie The Quiet Man. They were still in their original envelopes.
The letters sold for over €70,000 ($75,000), but might have been lost forever. O’Hara had once pledged that they should be destroyed after her death but eventually changed her mind.
In the year before her death she commented: “For years I wondered why John Ford grew to hate me so much.
“I realise now that he didn’t hate me at all. He loved me very much and even thought that he was in love with me.”
Personal items that related to O’Hara’s time filming the 1952 classic The Quiet Man attracted the most bids.
Her personal and heavily-anotated script sold for €47,000 ($50,000), while a tweed jacket worn by her character Mary Kate Danaher reached €15,000 ($16,250).
A pair of Meissen porcelain, floral-encrusted covered vases owned by O’Hara, proved to be a big success, selling for nearly €30,000 ($31,250) which was ten times the pre-auction estimate.
Bonhams spokesperson Catherine Williamson said: “The Irish style icon’s personal effects were volleyed between phone, internet and a healthy crowd of in-room bidders from Ireland, Europe, South America and Asia.
“It’s clear that O’Hara’s appeal is evergreen – she speaks just as much to young movie-goers as to those who saw her when her films first premiered.
“She had a fantastic sense of style and her clothing and accessories proved particularly popular, often selling for as many as 10 times their low estimates.”
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling