The McCabe Collection – A Legacy

The McCabe Collection – A Legacy

Next weeks memorabilia auction of an incredible private collection of memorabilia and advertising includes brands such as Guinness, Old Bushmills, Murphys, Jameson, Beamish, Harp Lager, Smithwicks, Cork Dry Gin, Paddy, Dunvilles and much much more.

There’s something really rather special afoot at Victor Mee Auctions at the moment. The McCabe Collection Sale taking place this Monday and Tuesday October 5th and 6th is something spectacular. It’s not just because it boasts almost 1400 lots that have never been seen before. It’s not just because these lots are rare and highly collectible. And it’s not just because it’s the largest private collection of pub memorabilia and advertising that we have ever seen. The McCabe Collection is special to us because it is very special to the McCabe family.

This collection is not one that has been parted with willy-nilly. The fantastic anthology of memorabilia and advertising going under the hammer with us next week has been gathered, loved and cared for by generations.

Molly McCabe was the publican at E. McCabe and Sons bar in Warrenpoint for her whole life, having taken over from her founding father, Edward, who purchased it in 1924. The bar was known locally as “Mollys”, it was bought by her nephew, Des, in the late 1990s and thrived in the area until Mollys death in 2011 after which it was sold.

The items in this collection have been gathered by Molly, her father and generations of the McCabe close and extended family and friends both in Ireland and abroad for 100 years, filling it with pieces of extreme value, rarity and, indeed, personal nostalgia. Some of it was gifted to Molly by US soldiers stationed locally in WWII. Some of it by relatives in Philadelphia. Some of it came from Guinness representatives visiting Mollys over the years brandishing advertising wares. Pieces have come from connections in the UK, some bought by Des and Molly at auction. It is truly a plethora of sources and stories all adding to the character and uniqueness of this incomparable assortment.

This collection has, since Mollys passing, been cherished, protected and maintained by Mollys nephew Des who spent his childhood around the renowned pub and for whom these lots hold a special place in his heart.

As a boy I grew up bottling Guinness in the pub with my dad,” Des told us. “As I got older I began to appreciate the design, graphics and branding. The pub was much more than beer and whiskey. It was a focal point to the community – a post office, tobacconist, grocery store, chemist and so the range of products and brands collected over the last 100 years reflects that.”

This sale represents a huge labour of love for Des and his family. No part of this extensive collection was gathered with gain in mind. These items have never before been shared, never been viewed and never been for sale. There’s a sentimentality here that makes this auction feel very distinct from any other memorabilia sale we have ever hosted. It’s a contagious sentimentality that makes this sale one of the most special and most significant memorabilia collections our team has been entrusted with.

“I absolutely feel nostalgic about letting go of the collection,” said Des. “I feel sad in that the sale represents the end of an era in the family stretching back over 100 years. On the other hand, I also feel excited about adding to other peoples collections and seeing these memorable pieces being displayed, cherished and enjoyed for years to come. I can’t enjoy these items as I would like and they should be enjoyed, not stuck in boxes.”

The passion that Des holds for his collection is palpable. It’s in the way he speaks of it, his ease and eagerness to share his family history and the genuineness of his desire for these things to be loved. There’s no pretension behind this collection despite there being room for plenty. Des has been sitting on one of the most extensive and valuable collections we’ve ever seen and yet he humbly calls it “an accidental hoarding”.

An accident, though, it surely is not. Perhaps that’s how it all began; a beermat stashed here and an ashtray stored there. Today, however, he realizes the relevance of his hoard. Des is, simply put, a really nice person who, through passion and loyalty, has found himself at the helm of his familys treasured legacy and he’s honest about his inability to give it the love he feels it genuinely deserves. We respect that a lot. We admire it. And thus, it is our honour and pleasure to offer this legacy for “rehoming” in next weeks sale.

The McCabe Collection takes place on Monday October 5th and Tuesday October 6th LIVE ONLINE from 2pm. Viewing appointments are available now and throughout the weekend. Contact the Victor Mee Auctions team to book your slot to see this incredible collection in person or view the full catalogue on our website now at

Tel: 003534755076


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