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History

1929

In a period of great uncertainty exacerbated by the great depression and following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, William Gregson, affectionately known at ‘WG’, started the business at number 32 King St, Perth City selling 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1940S

1940s 

Gregsons still heavily involved in the sale of antiquities also handled land sales on behalf of the local court with an article in the West Australian Newspaper discussing the ‘fantastic prices’ achieved at Gregsons Auction Mart.. You can also see Gregsons becoming more involved in the disposal of mining related equipment with an advertisement below advertising ‘the whole of theplant, machinery, equipment of mine stores of the new Colconda Mines N.L.’ which was located between Cue and Mr Magnet in WA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1950s

1950s

Gregsons move from the original premises in the mid 1950s into the much larger showrooms based in Beaufort St, Northbridge which at the time was called ‘commercial suicide’ given how far from Perth City this location.. who would have thought! The showrooms were enormous and David Gregson had just returned from studying in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts School and was asked to paint a mural across the entire side of the building inside which can be seen in the photos below, it was a lovely piece that lasted decades until the building was sold and demolished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1980S

1980s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1980s cont..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

2000s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2000s cont…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010s cont…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1930s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1940S

1950s

Gregsons move from the original premises in the mid 1950s into the much larger showrooms based in Beaufort St, Northbridge which at the time was called ‘commercial suicide’ given how far from Perth City this location.. who would have thought! The showrooms were enormous and David Gregson had just returned from studying in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts School and was asked to paint a mural across the entire side of the building inside which can be seen in the photos below, it was a lovely piece that lasted decades until the building was sold and demolished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1960s

1970s

1980s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

2000s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2010s

2010s cont…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1929

In a period of great uncertainty exacerbated by the great depression and following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, William Gregson, affectionately known at ‘WG’, started the business at number 32 King St, Perth City selling 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

1940s 

Gregsons still heavily involved in the sale of antiquities also handled land sales on behalf of the local court with an article in the West Australian Newspaper discussing the ‘fantastic prices’ achieved at Gregsons Auction Mart.. You can also see Gregsons becoming more involved in the disposal of mining related equipment with an advertisement below advertising ‘the whole of theplant, machinery, equipment of mine stores of the new Colconda Mines N.L.’ which was located between Cue and Mr Magnet in WA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1950s

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

1980s cont..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 cont…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.