The Yeats Family Collection- The Final Chapter

Described as “the last significant tranche of items to ever go to auction from the Yeats family”, over 200 lots of items including paintings, letters and personal memorabilia, which offered a unique insight into Irish literary and artistic history through the eyes of the Yeats family were auctioned on November 14th in Fonsie Mealy’s Chatsworth Salerooms in Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny.


Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers, Ireland’s leading specialist Auction House who are recognised nationally and internationally as specialists in Irish historical artefacts, rare books and fine art assembled the collection of remarkable items.

Items of interest such as a pairof W.B Yeats spectacles and original portraits generated much interest and well exceeded the conservative starting prices.

“To be charged with looking after this collection that is of huge importance to Irish history and culture was an honour” said George Fonsie  of Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers.


Some of the auction results included:

  • A pair of WB’s optical glasses. – Seeing the world through the eyes of the poet, a pair of W.B. Yeats ‘Pince-Nez’ optical glasses, thought to be 19th century were conservatively estimated at between €500-600. They fetched €10,000 under the hammer.
  •  One of only two known signed and compiled sketchbooks to exist from W.B Yeats time in Art College in Dublin (1884-85) guide-lined at between €3,500 and €5,000 and went for €17,000.
  • A rare original fine ink sketch by John B. Yeats of his son W.B, which was reproduced in William B. Yeats’ first separate publication, ‘Mosada’.The superb drawing is characteristic of J.B Yeats at his very best, bringing out his twenty-year-old son’s vulnerability as well as his determination. Sold for €21,000.
  • A monogrammed briefcase belonging to W.B Yeats, which he subsequently gifted to his son Michael. Estimated at between €600-800, sold for €3,400.
  • A set of Tarot cards designed by Pamela Colman Smith, thought to belong to Georgina, wife of W.B Yeats. – Conservatively estimated at between €450 – 600, fetched €4,800.
  • A poignant photograph of Maud Gonne, from W.B’s collection sold for €1,300.