Matthews Auctioneers to sell important Arthur Quinlan Collection

Matthews Auctioneers of Oldcastle, Co Meath are to sell an important Arthur Quinlan (1921-2012 ) Collection in their October 28, 600-lot auction of antiques.

Over 170 lots in their next auction are to be sold by order of the executors of the late Arthur Quinlan: antiques, original photographs and files, silver, and more. The auction also includes a rare 1960s recording chronometer wristwatch estimated to be worth €250-€350 and a small library of Irish, aviation, and other interest books, totalling approximately 250 volumes.

Arthur Quinlan (1921-2012 ), was an Irish Times reporter who retired at age 87. Ireland’s longest serving journalist, he covered Shannon Airport and the Mid-Western district. For over 50 years he reported on Shannon’s momentous, sometimes tragic events, and interviewed many international figures who passed through the airport when it was a compulsorly stop-over into Europe.

Hollywood stars Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Marlene Dietrich, to name a few; every North American president from Harry S Truman to George Bush; Russian leaders; European royalty, including Princess Margaret and the Duke of Edinburgh, future Popes, and international musicians were photographed and interviewed by Quinlan as they quietly passed through Ireland, some becoming personal friends.

An unlikely visitor who stayed and enjoyed Quinlan’s hospitality was the Marxist revolutionary hero Che Guevara (1928-1967 ), who discussed with him his Irish ancestry. Others included Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962 ); Yehudi Menuhin OM, KBE (1916-1999 ); Vivien Leigh (1913-1967 ); and Susan Hayward (1917-1975 ). Quinlan sent his dispatches to the four corners of the globe via Reuters, United Press International, AP, and a myriad of broadcasting organisations. On a more prosaic note Quinlan covered the homecoming visit of President John F Kennedy to Ireland in 1963 and later the same year his assassination. In 1967, as representative of European journalists, he placed a wreath on Kennedy’s grave in Arlington Cemetery.

A fascinating and generous man, Quinlan was one of the few who interviewed Captain Charles Lindbergh shortly after the fatal kidnapping of his young son. Captain Lindbergh opened up to Arthur which had editors worldwide shouting ‘Hold the front page!’. A past master at executing international scoops. On hearing Air Force One was due to make a confidential stop over at Shannon with the then President Bush on board (via his close contacts with the ‘on the ground’ Shannon staff ), Quinlan drove to the airport in the small hours of the morning in the hope of getting an interview. Bush, who wasn’t due to leave the plane, decided to visit duty free at 4am. Quinlan for his perseverance and gentle approach got an important interview as regards his thinking on the Middle East and the fast coming Gulf War.

Quinlan, truly an international journalist, was a conduit to the world from his Shannon base at a time when communications were not as they are now.

Matthews Auctioneers of Oldcastle are privileged to have been chosen as the auctioneers for this collection, the fully illustrated catalogue of which will be posted online on their website this Friday October 17 at 7pm. For more information log on to

The auction takes place on October 28 at 6.30pm in their Oldcastle auction rooms.

This auction will also include antiques, mirrors, crystal and porcelain, Irish art, jewellery, rugs, and more.



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