History

1929

Mr William Gregson

He founded the Company in 1929.

His personal integrity established the high standards which the Company has maintained ever since.

◊◊◊◊◊◊

With the Wall Street Crash and subsequent Great Depression, the late 1920s were a turbulent time in Western Australia’s history.

It was amongst this uncertainty that William Gregson, affectionately known as ‘WG’ first opened Gregsons’ doors. Operating out of 32 King Street, WG sold surplus war blankets to the general public.

WG went on to stay in this location for almost 30 years before moving to the much larger Beaufort St premises.

 

 

1930s

1930s

While the new decade continued to bring economic hardship to many West Australians, Gregsons became an icon of the business community – providing an exceptional and trustworthy service to their clients and customers. In 1936 we made headlines in Perth after auctioning blocks of land being disposed of by the Metropolitan Water Supply Department due to an accumulation of rates. Savvy buyers were rewarded with bargains in suburbs across Perth, including blocks in Dalkeith for £365.

In 1939 we were back in the media again, this time bringing some excitement to Perth’s roads with a monster truck auction. Western Australia’s farming community converged on William Street as WG auctioned a large range of rebuilt and reconditioned tractors. With demonstrations of each vehicle prior to sale, a thrilling day for the farmers was a long day of auctioning for WG.

Gregsons closed out the 1930s by assisting in the war efforts. Auctioneers gave their time free of charge to auction toys, with the proceeds being donated to the Red Cross.

1940S

During the war years, coupons were part of life which enabled people to purchase everyday items such as sugar, flour, tea etc

So tea without coupons, five large packets of a favourite brand of cigarette for 14/- and many household commodities which were seldom seen on shop counters was a rear treat.  These and many other household items worth about 200 pounds were sold at auction in Forrest Place on 3 August 1945.

WG seen above auctioning an item (foreground holding what appears to be a pair of men’s braces) was one of the auctioneers, donating his time and talent to raise funds for “Miss Australia” entrant Shirley Slater (behind WG), who represented the Commonwealth Public Services.

1940s 

The 1940s were a big decade for Gregsons. While we continued to excel in the sale of antiquities, the business also expanded into other areas including handling land sales on behalf of the local court.  The West Australian newspaper praised the auctions for achieving such “fantastic prices.”

WG also continued to support both Australia’s war efforts and the local community with a scrap metal auction. Kids from Subiaco State School collected scrap metals including 1600 tins, which WG then auctioned on behalf of the Camp Comforts Fund.

In 1946 WG made headlines, although this time it was his observational rather than auctioning talents that had him in the spotlight. After reckless driving around Perth’s suburbs saw three Royal Marines wrap a stolen car around a poll, WG’s quick thinking meant he was able to help police assist in their investigation. This included clearing up the case of one particular Marine who despite being seen, claimed to have never been in the car.

The 1940s continued to be a snowball of community-supported success for Gregsons, as 1948 saw us host the so-called ‘Land Bonanza’. Despite the land controls in place at the time, one lucky Perth syndicate walked away from our auction with a timbered property in Wandering, for just £2600. Even in 1948, the value was estimated to be several times this amount. The bargain price was the maximum set by the Sub-Treasury, who were selling the property to regain five years of unpaid taxes and rates on the land.

1950s

1950s

The 1950s kicked off in true Gregsons style with a large two-day auction at Karrakatta Stores and Transport depot. From cars to typewriters, the people of Perth were treated to a wide range of items, all being auctioned with the Gregsons spirit of family, trust and customer service that Western Australians had come to know and love.

Not long after this, we grew out of our central Perth location and moved to a much larger showroom in Beaufort Street, Northbridge. The spacious showrooms were acquired just in time for David Gregson, who had recently returned to Perth after a stint studying in Paris, to paint a mural across the side of the building.

The mural was a true work of art, and quickly became one of the most recognisable parts of Northbridge.

1960s

1960s 

In 1965 Gregsons were awarded the disposal of equipment belonging to the Sons of Gwalia Gold Mine under instructions from the Receiver and Manager. The Sons of Gwalia was one of Australia’s major underground gold mines in terms of operation time, output and scale. It operated for 65 years, from 1896 to 1963, with a break between 1921 and 1923. Its gold output of 2,580,411 ounces was the sixth largest in Australia, and it had 5,500 feet (1.7kms) of incline and vertical shafts operating to a depth of nearly 4,000 feet (1.2kms).

“Mine equipment and transportable buildings were auctioned from 26 to 28 October 1965 and drew representatives from mining, engineering and salvage companies and local pastoralists. Among the equipment and machinery sold were six timber-framed corrugated iron clad houses, Mess building and surgery building, as well as equipment from the Assay Building, which included grinder, crucibles, cupel press, two furnace oil burners with pipe and tanks, assay scales, balances and microscope. The auction realised over £16,000. The Mess building, surgery building and timber-framed corrugated iron houses were transported elsewhere. In 1974, the Leonora Tourist Committee was formed with the aim of preserving the town of Gwalia as a relic of the old gold mining days”

1970s

1970s

In 1974, chairs originally from a shipwrecked mailing ship ended up on the Gregsons auction floor. But prior to making it to Gregsons, the chairs from wrecked RMS Orizaba had spent nearly 70 years in a Perth barbershop.
The RMS Orizaba went ashore near Garden Island, off the WA coast in February 1905 after smog from a bushfire caused the captain to lose his bearings. All those on board were safely evacuated, and although the ship itself could not be salvaged, many parts of the cargo, fittings and fixtures were removed and sold on to willing buyers.

In the same year of the shipwreck, the aforementioned barbershop was built on William Street in Perth, where some of the wrecked ships chairs were used to keep gentlemen comfortable as the barbers kept the men of Perth looking in ship-shape for many years.
Unfortunately, the barbershop was closed in 1974 and the shop became a fashion boutique. As a result, these chairs needed to find a new home. Seven old ships’ chairs were auctioned off by none other than the trusted WA auctioneers at Gregsons, with some of the chairs selling for $47.50 (approximately $374.00 today), while others sold for $37.50 (around $295.26 in today’s prices).

Gregsons’ also auctioned two barbers’ chairs for $10.00 each, or approximately $78.74 today, while a headrest went for a whopping $15.00, or $118.10 in today’s prices.
What does someone do with chairs from a wrecked mailing ship, or barbers’ chairs in general, we hear you ask. Well, at the Perth furniture auction, Perth’s own Mrs Joan Furlong chose to repurpose some of the historic chairs, with four of the ships’ chairs and one barber chair bought to “add character” to her restaurant.
While chairs from early 1900s wrecked ships aren’t the kind of items you find everyday at a Gregsons auction, you can expect the unexpected – with a wide range of items regularly making their way to our auction floor.
if you require anything further.

 

 

 

1980S

1980s

The 1980’s saw Gregsons cement itself as a West Australian institution, with Bob Gregson playing a leading role in our exciting history as one of the best auctioneers and valuers in Perth
1987 – Antics in the Auction Room
Bob Gregson followed in his father, William Gregson’s footsteps; helping to carry on the successful Perth auction house that his dad had built.
Although Bob started out cleaning toilets at Gregsons, he soon moved up the ranks to auctioneer and at his first auction, sold 60 items an hour. In the 1980’s when he was at his prime, Bob was averaging a cool 180 items an hour.
It takes a special character to capture the hearts and minds of so many bidders, but Bob was a lovable larrikin, with natural charm and wit. It wasn’t long before his nature and ability to captivate an audience lead him to being labelled by the media as Perth’s most famous auctioneer – a title he deserved and one he was comfortable broadcasting to others in conversation
On top of auctioning off a variety of items over his career, Bob was the official State Government valuer for Australian and English furniture and Persian rugs. He was also a charitable man, holding numerous auctions for Perth charities.
Even after seemingly perfecting his craft and winning over the hoards of bidders who visited the Gregsons auction house over the years, even Bob still suffered from nerves before an auction.

1980s cont..

1989 – Works of Art in the Junk Shed
To an untrained eye, some paintings stored away in a garden shed may not seem worth putting up for auction, but you know how the saying goes: “one woman’s discarded paintings could be a Gregsons’ auctioneer’s treasure” or something like that.
In 1989, before an auction of an elderly lady’s furniture and belongings that had been piled in the shed, an auctioneers assistant from Gregsons spotted some valuable art among the ordinary household items.
These two paintings, by renowned South Australian painter Samuel Thomas Gill, had been in the woman’s family for almost 100 years.
Having a keen eye for detail and a vast knowledge of valuing was the difference between these pieces selling as part of an antique art auction in Perth, instead of just on the general auction floor.
The two pieces depicted beautiful scenes of Australia – one of the Murray River and the other of the Flinders Ranges. After going under the hammer at the antique sale, these watercolour pieces sold for $12,250.

1990s

1990s

Gregsons conducted the biggest auction in the southern hemisphere in over 10 days in July of 1994 with the auction containing 30,000 items collected over 40 years by Kent and Evelyn Hall being an exhibition that museum curators, international connoisseurs and art experts from all over the world admired. It is no exaggeration to say that it was the finest collection of its kind in the southern hemisphere.  There were many items dating from the Elizabethan era, such as glass and porcelain vases, silverware, paintings and etchings, kitchen ware and ornaments, 18th and 19th century tools, toys and dolls, surgical, optical and scientific instruments, dental and pharmacy, cameras dating back to 1860, French telephones from the 1890s, clocks, stamps and coins, musical instruments, old sporting equipment, the padlock to Ned Kelly’s cell, the Perth Mint’s old bullion scales and coin sorter, rare oil lamps from the second and third century B.C., antique jewellery and furniture, a blunderbuss brought to Australia in 1829, and a book that was one of only three printed in 1789 to relate Governor Arthur Phillip’s voyage to Australia.

Mr Paul Ward of Gregsons said that it was the biggest volume auction in the southern hemisphere. It took six months of preparing and cataloguing of 18 hour days, and finally 10 days of selling. Big prices were paid by buyers coming from all over the world. A Singapore syndicate initially bought the lot pre-auction, then took 250 of the pristine and most valued furniture items, before the remainder went to auction.

 

1990s cont..

1990s also involved one of the most controversial discoveries in Gregsons history involving the collapse of Alan Bond. Gregsons were heavily involved in the sale of many items belonging to Mr Bond, including furniture from the Bond Tower in St Georges Tce. An article in the West Australian dated Dec 1991 outlines “A cache of 24 diamonds has been discovered in a concealed drawer of a fireproof security cabinet by the liquidators of Alan Bond’s private company Dallhold Investments Pty Ltd….The diamonds were found in Perth on the morning of the Australian Football League grand final, September 28, by an employee at Gregsons Auctioneers (it was Jon Gregson and Victor Burford) during a check of equipment being stored at the company’s Beaufort Street yard for auction”

Another article in January of the following year (1992) describes the value of the diamonds being estimated at $130,000 with Mr Bond claiming they belonged to his wife and simply being stored in the safe..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1990s cont.

Gregsons were engaged to undertake an enormous auction in the 90’s for the property of Havelock House under instructions from Kingsburg Pty Ltd as mortgagee of the various assets pursuant to a chattel mortgage given in its favour by His Eminent Highness Barkat Ali Khan Muharram Jah otherwise known as ‘The Nizam of Hyderabad’ with the details of this momentous auction outlined below in a extract ‘The Last Nizam’ by John Zubrzycki published in 2006. 

“In the spring of 1995, Perth’s largest auction house, Gregsons, received instructions from Kingsburg to conduct a mortgagee auction. In the 40-odd years Bob Gregson had been working with his family company he had never handled a sale of this size. Almost 600 lots, ranging from a child’s pair of sequinned slippers to a Holland & Holland Royal Grade double-barrel elephant gun, were up for sale. The 54 page catalogue listed the entire contents of Havelock House, including Jah’s prayer cap, a painting by his Turkish grandfather, a 1909 child-sized model of a horse and cart, dozens of books, family photographs, curtains and chandeliers, as well as a 442 piece Mapping and Webb ivory handled silvery cutlery service. The sale attracted international attention. Jah, who was in London, found out about the auction only three days before it was held. It was David Michael who spotted an advertisement placed in The Times  announcing an auction of ‘The chattels of Nazim of Hyderabad’ to be held on 1 December 1995. 

Short of paying Javeri the money he owed him, Jah could do nothing to stop the court-ordered disposal of his personal possessions. But he did ask his old friend, Ayoob Khan, Pakistan’s Consul General in Perth, to withdraw from sale several items of religious and personal value including the prayer cap, a silver tray given to Jah on his fiftieth birthday, an Asaf Jahi flag, and a book, Best Loved Cars of the World. ‘There was also a chess set there. I wanted to buy it and give it to him because i knew he was fond of it’, says Khan. ‘But he told me: “Don’t buy it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone”. 

Gregson says he heard a rumour that Jah was among the 500 people who crammed the Beaufort Street rooms because he ‘was worried about the bag with his togs in it’. In truth, however, Jah had stayed away as buyers put in bids ranging from A$10 for a pair of damaged pink and milk glass dishes to A$112,000 for the elephant gun. ‘There were people bidding twenty dollars for my towels’, says Jah incredulously. 

Today, Lot no, 526, Abdul Mejid’s oil painting of a deer running through the snow, is one of the few items Jah managed to salvage from the sale. It was purchased by Javeri for A$3200 and presented to Jah as a belated peace offering by his wife in 2001. Hundreds of other lots purchased by Javeri at the auction are stored in a Perth warehouse awaiting a final resolution of litigations still being carried on by Scheherazade. Most of the Jah’s precious family memorabilia is not amongst it. Though many of the items had gone beyond their estimated value, the A$985,000 raised by the auction was well short of what Javeri was owed. Nah was now down to his last asset and the one that coveted the most: his half-million acres of bush, barbed wire, blowflies and dust”

2000s

2010s

2000s

In 2002, Bob Gregson hung up the auctioneering hammer for good; he had charmed the WA public from behind his ornate podium for just over half a century, with his career spanning an unforgettable and remarkable time from 1949 to 2002.
While the Gregsons brand, like all businesses, had its ups and downs over the years, Bob put in an incredible amount of effort to ensure sellers received worthy amounts for their lots. Buyers had unwavering belief and support in him as an auctioneer and the Gregsons brand as a whole, and he enjoyed every minute of his time in the job. He remarked that his work never felt like “real work” because he loved what he did.

Bob’s job took him all over the world, including to Britain 56 times during his career. As the official State Government valuer for Australian and English furniture and Persian rugs, Bob also found himself travelling locally as well.
During his time as an auctioneer, he oversaw the auctions of a variety of items and collections, including everything from small trinkets to paintings to items belonging to deceased estates. His lovable larrikin nature and quick wit made easy work of the array of items to come through Gregsons doors, with collections more-often-than-not finding new loving owners.

Above all else, Bob said any one looking to follow in his footsteps needed to be keen, informed and honest. Though Bob truly was one-of-a-kind, we think that a healthy dose of that larrikin nature, coupled with a great eye for valuing wouldn’t go astray for any budding auctioneers either.

2010s 

This decades most likely sees the biggest change in the way Gregsons operates its business for decades with the introduction of online auctions through Gregsons partnership with Adelaide based auction software provided ‘Auctionator’. The first auction ever held on the online auction system was on behalf of one of Gregsons most valued clients being major insolvency firm ‘KordaMentha’. The sale was a major event Administrators auction in the matter of Alligator Airways involving 5 x skydiving/tourist aircraft and several motor vehicles all located in Kununurra, Western Australia.

All aircraft and vehicles were sold via the new online auction software with bidders participating nationally as well as winning bidders in Vanuatu and South Africa.

This was the start of Gregsons journey into the online auction world and would shape the future direction of the company in the years to come.

 

The Gregson Generations

1929

Mr William Gregson

He founded the Company in 1929.

His personal integrity established the high standards which the Company has maintained ever since.

◊◊◊◊◊◊

With the Wall Street Crash and subsequent Great Depression, the late 1920s were a turbulent time in Western Australia’s history.

It was amongst this uncertainty that William Gregson, affectionately known as ‘WG’ first opened Gregsons’ doors. Operating out of 32 King Street, WG sold surplus war blankets to the general public.

WG went on to stay in this location for almost 30 years before moving to the much larger Beaufort St premises.

 

 

1930s

While the new decade continued to bring economic hardship to many West Australians, Gregsons became an icon of the business community – providing an exceptional and trustworthy service to their clients and customers. In 1936 we made headlines in Perth after auctioning blocks of land being disposed of by the Metropolitan Water Supply Department due to an accumulation of rates. Savvy buyers were rewarded with bargains in suburbs across Perth, including blocks in Dalkeith for £365.

In 1939 we were back in the media again, this time bringing some excitement to Perth’s roads with a monster truck auction. Western Australia’s farming community converged on William Street as WG auctioned a large range of rebuilt and reconditioned tractors. With demonstrations of each vehicle prior to sale, a thrilling day for the farmers was a long day of auctioning for WG.

Gregsons closed out the 1930s by assisting in the war efforts. Auctioneers gave their time free of charge to auction toys, with the proceeds being donated to the Red Cross.

1940S

1940s 

The 1940s were a big decade for Gregsons. While we continued to excel in the sale of antiquities, the business also expanded into other areas including handling land sales on behalf of the local court.  The West Australian newspaper praised the auctions for achieving such “fantastic prices.”

WG also continued to support both Australia’s war efforts and the local community with a scrap metal auction. Kids from Subiaco State School collected scrap metals including 1600 tins, which WG then auctioned on behalf of the Camp Comforts Fund.

In 1946 WG made headlines, although this time it was his observational rather than auctioning talents that had him in the spotlight. After reckless driving around Perth’s suburbs saw three Royal Marines wrap a stolen car around a poll, WG’s quick thinking meant he was able to help police assist in their investigation. This included clearing up the case of one particular Marine who despite being seen, claimed to have never been in the car.

The 1940s continued to be a snowball of community-supported success for Gregsons, as 1948 saw us host the so-called ‘Land Bonanza’. Despite the land controls in place at the time, one lucky Perth syndicate walked away from our auction with a timbered property in Wandering, for just £2600. Even in 1948, the value was estimated to be several times this amount. The bargain price was the maximum set by the Sub-Treasury, who were selling the property to regain five years of unpaid taxes and rates on the land.

1960s

1960s 

In 1965 Gregsons were awarded the disposal of equipment belonging to the Sons of Gwalia Gold Mine under instructions from the Receiver and Manager. The Sons of Gwalia was one of Australia’s major underground gold mines in terms of operation time, output and scale. It operated for 65 years, from 1896 to 1963, with a break between 1921 and 1923. Its gold output of 2,580,411 ounces was the sixth largest in Australia, and it had 5,500 feet (1.7kms) of incline and vertical shafts operating to a depth of nearly 4,000 feet (1.2kms).

“Mine equipment and transportable buildings were auctioned from 26 to 28 October 1965 and drew representatives from mining, engineering and salvage companies and local pastoralists. Among the equipment and machinery sold were six timber-framed corrugated iron clad houses, Mess building and surgery building, as well as equipment from the Assay Building, which included grinder, crucibles, cupel press, two furnace oil burners with pipe and tanks, assay scales, balances and microscope. The auction realised over £16,000. The Mess building, surgery building and timber-framed corrugated iron houses were transported elsewhere. In 1974, the Leonora Tourist Committee was formed with the aim of preserving the town of Gwalia as a relic of the old gold mining days”

1970s

1980s cont..

1989 – Works of Art in the Junk Shed
To an untrained eye, some paintings stored away in a garden shed may not seem worth putting up for auction, but you know how the saying goes: “one woman’s discarded paintings could be a Gregsons’ auctioneer’s treasure” or something like that.
In 1989, before an auction of an elderly lady’s furniture and belongings that had been piled in the shed, an auctioneers assistant from Gregsons spotted some valuable art among the ordinary household items.
These two paintings, by renowned South Australian painter Samuel Thomas Gill, had been in the woman’s family for almost 100 years.
Having a keen eye for detail and a vast knowledge of valuing was the difference between these pieces selling as part of an antique art auction in Perth, instead of just on the general auction floor.
The two pieces depicted beautiful scenes of Australia – one of the Murray River and the other of the Flinders Ranges. After going under the hammer at the antique sale, these watercolour pieces sold for $12,250.

1990s

1990s

Gregsons conducted the biggest auction in the southern hemisphere in over 10 days in July of 1994 with the auction containing 30,000 items collected over 40 years by Kent and Evelyn Hall being an exhibition that museum curators, international connoisseurs and art experts from all over the world admired. It is no exaggeration to say that it was the finest collection of its kind in the southern hemisphere.  There were many items dating from the Elizabethan era, such as glass and porcelain vases, silverware, paintings and etchings, kitchen ware and ornaments, 18th and 19th century tools, toys and dolls, surgical, optical and scientific instruments, dental and pharmacy, cameras dating back to 1860, French telephones from the 1890s, clocks, stamps and coins, musical instruments, old sporting equipment, the padlock to Ned Kelly’s cell, the Perth Mint’s old bullion scales and coin sorter, rare oil lamps from the second and third century B.C., antique jewellery and furniture, a blunderbuss brought to Australia in 1829, and a book that was one of only three printed in 1789 to relate Governor Arthur Phillip’s voyage to Australia.

Mr Paul Ward of Gregsons said that it was the biggest volume auction in the southern hemisphere. It took six months of preparing and cataloguing of 18 hour days, and finally 10 days of selling. Big prices were paid by buyers coming from all over the world. A Singapore syndicate initially bought the lot pre-auction, then took 250 of the pristine and most valued furniture items, before the remainder went to auction.

 

1990s cont..

1990s also involved one of the most controversial discoveries in Gregsons history involving the collapse of Alan Bond. Gregsons were heavily involved in the sale of many items belonging to Mr Bond, including furniture from the Bond Tower in St Georges Tce. An article in the West Australian dated Dec 1991 outlines “A cache of 24 diamonds has been discovered in a concealed drawer of a fireproof security cabinet by the liquidators of Alan Bond’s private company Dallhold Investments Pty Ltd….The diamonds were found in Perth on the morning of the Australian Football League grand final, September 28, by an employee at Gregsons Auctioneers (it was Jon Gregson and Victor Burford) during a check of equipment being stored at the company’s Beaufort Street yard for auction”

Another article in January of the following year (1992) describes the value of the diamonds being estimated at $130,000 with Mr Bond claiming they belonged to his wife and simply being stored in the safe..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2000s

2010s

2010s 

This decades most likely sees the biggest change in the way Gregsons operates its business for decades with the introduction of online auctions through Gregsons partnership with Adelaide based auction software provided ‘Auctionator’. The first auction ever held on the online auction system was on behalf of one of Gregsons most valued clients being major insolvency firm ‘KordaMentha’. The sale was a major event Administrators auction in the matter of Alligator Airways involving 5 x skydiving/tourist aircraft and several motor vehicles all located in Kununurra, Western Australia.

All aircraft and vehicles were sold via the new online auction software with bidders participating nationally as well as winning bidders in Vanuatu and South Africa.

This was the start of Gregsons journey into the online auction world and would shape the future direction of the company in the years to come.

 

The Gregson Generations

1930s

During the war years, coupons were part of life which enabled people to purchase everyday items such as sugar, flour, tea etc

So tea without coupons, five large packets of a favourite brand of cigarette for 14/- and many household commodities which were seldom seen on shop counters was a rear treat.  These and many other household items worth about 200 pounds were sold at auction in Forrest Place on 3 August 1945.

WG seen above auctioning an item (foreground holding what appears to be a pair of men’s braces) was one of the auctioneers, donating his time and talent to raise funds for “Miss Australia” entrant Shirley Slater (behind WG), who represented the Commonwealth Public Services.

1950s

1950s

The 1950s kicked off in true Gregsons style with a large two-day auction at Karrakatta Stores and Transport depot. From cars to typewriters, the people of Perth were treated to a wide range of items, all being auctioned with the Gregsons spirit of family, trust and customer service that Western Australians had come to know and love.

Not long after this, we grew out of our central Perth location and moved to a much larger showroom in Beaufort Street, Northbridge. The spacious showrooms were acquired just in time for David Gregson, who had recently returned to Perth after a stint studying in Paris, to paint a mural across the side of the building.

The mural was a true work of art, and quickly became one of the most recognisable parts of Northbridge.

1970s

In 1974, chairs originally from a shipwrecked mailing ship ended up on the Gregsons auction floor. But prior to making it to Gregsons, the chairs from wrecked RMS Orizaba had spent nearly 70 years in a Perth barbershop.
The RMS Orizaba went ashore near Garden Island, off the WA coast in February 1905 after smog from a bushfire caused the captain to lose his bearings. All those on board were safely evacuated, and although the ship itself could not be salvaged, many parts of the cargo, fittings and fixtures were removed and sold on to willing buyers.

In the same year of the shipwreck, the aforementioned barbershop was built on William Street in Perth, where some of the wrecked ships chairs were used to keep gentlemen comfortable as the barbers kept the men of Perth looking in ship-shape for many years.
Unfortunately, the barbershop was closed in 1974 and the shop became a fashion boutique. As a result, these chairs needed to find a new home. Seven old ships’ chairs were auctioned off by none other than the trusted WA auctioneers at Gregsons, with some of the chairs selling for $47.50 (approximately $374.00 today), while others sold for $37.50 (around $295.26 in today’s prices).

Gregsons’ also auctioned two barbers’ chairs for $10.00 each, or approximately $78.74 today, while a headrest went for a whopping $15.00, or $118.10 in today’s prices.
What does someone do with chairs from a wrecked mailing ship, or barbers’ chairs in general, we hear you ask. Well, at the Perth furniture auction, Perth’s own Mrs Joan Furlong chose to repurpose some of the historic chairs, with four of the ships’ chairs and one barber chair bought to “add character” to her restaurant.
While chairs from early 1900s wrecked ships aren’t the kind of items you find everyday at a Gregsons auction, you can expect the unexpected – with a wide range of items regularly making their way to our auction floor.
if you require anything further.

 

 

 

1980S

1980s

The 1980’s saw Gregsons cement itself as a West Australian institution, with Bob Gregson playing a leading role in our exciting history as one of the best auctioneers and valuers in Perth
1987 – Antics in the Auction Room
Bob Gregson followed in his father, William Gregson’s footsteps; helping to carry on the successful Perth auction house that his dad had built.
Although Bob started out cleaning toilets at Gregsons, he soon moved up the ranks to auctioneer and at his first auction, sold 60 items an hour. In the 1980’s when he was at his prime, Bob was averaging a cool 180 items an hour.
It takes a special character to capture the hearts and minds of so many bidders, but Bob was a lovable larrikin, with natural charm and wit. It wasn’t long before his nature and ability to captivate an audience lead him to being labelled by the media as Perth’s most famous auctioneer – a title he deserved and one he was comfortable broadcasting to others in conversation
On top of auctioning off a variety of items over his career, Bob was the official State Government valuer for Australian and English furniture and Persian rugs. He was also a charitable man, holding numerous auctions for Perth charities.
Even after seemingly perfecting his craft and winning over the hoards of bidders who visited the Gregsons auction house over the years, even Bob still suffered from nerves before an auction.

1990s cont.

Gregsons were engaged to undertake an enormous auction in the 90’s for the property of Havelock House under instructions from Kingsburg Pty Ltd as mortgagee of the various assets pursuant to a chattel mortgage given in its favour by His Eminent Highness Barkat Ali Khan Muharram Jah otherwise known as ‘The Nizam of Hyderabad’ with the details of this momentous auction outlined below in a extract ‘The Last Nizam’ by John Zubrzycki published in 2006. 

“In the spring of 1995, Perth’s largest auction house, Gregsons, received instructions from Kingsburg to conduct a mortgagee auction. In the 40-odd years Bob Gregson had been working with his family company he had never handled a sale of this size. Almost 600 lots, ranging from a child’s pair of sequinned slippers to a Holland & Holland Royal Grade double-barrel elephant gun, were up for sale. The 54 page catalogue listed the entire contents of Havelock House, including Jah’s prayer cap, a painting by his Turkish grandfather, a 1909 child-sized model of a horse and cart, dozens of books, family photographs, curtains and chandeliers, as well as a 442 piece Mapping and Webb ivory handled silvery cutlery service. The sale attracted international attention. Jah, who was in London, found out about the auction only three days before it was held. It was David Michael who spotted an advertisement placed in The Times  announcing an auction of ‘The chattels of Nazim of Hyderabad’ to be held on 1 December 1995. 

Short of paying Javeri the money he owed him, Jah could do nothing to stop the court-ordered disposal of his personal possessions. But he did ask his old friend, Ayoob Khan, Pakistan’s Consul General in Perth, to withdraw from sale several items of religious and personal value including the prayer cap, a silver tray given to Jah on his fiftieth birthday, an Asaf Jahi flag, and a book, Best Loved Cars of the World. ‘There was also a chess set there. I wanted to buy it and give it to him because i knew he was fond of it’, says Khan. ‘But he told me: “Don’t buy it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone”. 

Gregson says he heard a rumour that Jah was among the 500 people who crammed the Beaufort Street rooms because he ‘was worried about the bag with his togs in it’. In truth, however, Jah had stayed away as buyers put in bids ranging from A$10 for a pair of damaged pink and milk glass dishes to A$112,000 for the elephant gun. ‘There were people bidding twenty dollars for my towels’, says Jah incredulously. 

Today, Lot no, 526, Abdul Mejid’s oil painting of a deer running through the snow, is one of the few items Jah managed to salvage from the sale. It was purchased by Javeri for A$3200 and presented to Jah as a belated peace offering by his wife in 2001. Hundreds of other lots purchased by Javeri at the auction are stored in a Perth warehouse awaiting a final resolution of litigations still being carried on by Scheherazade. Most of the Jah’s precious family memorabilia is not amongst it. Though many of the items had gone beyond their estimated value, the A$985,000 raised by the auction was well short of what Javeri was owed. Nah was now down to his last asset and the one that coveted the most: his half-million acres of bush, barbed wire, blowflies and dust”

2000s

In 2002, Bob Gregson hung up the auctioneering hammer for good; he had charmed the WA public from behind his ornate podium for just over half a century, with his career spanning an unforgettable and remarkable time from 1949 to 2002.
While the Gregsons brand, like all businesses, had its ups and downs over the years, Bob put in an incredible amount of effort to ensure sellers received worthy amounts for their lots. Buyers had unwavering belief and support in him as an auctioneer and the Gregsons brand as a whole, and he enjoyed every minute of his time in the job. He remarked that his work never felt like “real work” because he loved what he did.

Bob’s job took him all over the world, including to Britain 56 times during his career. As the official State Government valuer for Australian and English furniture and Persian rugs, Bob also found himself travelling locally as well.
During his time as an auctioneer, he oversaw the auctions of a variety of items and collections, including everything from small trinkets to paintings to items belonging to deceased estates. His lovable larrikin nature and quick wit made easy work of the array of items to come through Gregsons doors, with collections more-often-than-not finding new loving owners.

Above all else, Bob said any one looking to follow in his footsteps needed to be keen, informed and honest. Though Bob truly was one-of-a-kind, we think that a healthy dose of that larrikin nature, coupled with a great eye for valuing wouldn’t go astray for any budding auctioneers either.