The complete auction service supported by qualified expertise and experience.
The Penzance Auction House is one of the foremost auction houses in the country and the largest in Cornwall. Founded by David Lay as a small enterprise in 1979, David Lay Auctions has grown to be the most prestigious auctioneering institution in Cornwall, and ranks among the most highly regarded provincial auction houses in the country. Housed in the grade 2 listed Penzance Auction House, David Lay Auctions provides an established and competitive environment in which to sell Fine Art and Antiques to a global client base. As a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, David is also fully qualified to conduct insurance and probate valuations, working alongside your solicitor to provide official estimations of works of art and selected items. We frequently deal with prestigious collections, for instance the Pendarves Library collection sale in 2013, and with exceptional individual items, such as our recent sales of a 2,600 year old Egyptian bronze cat bust for £52,000 and Chinese Ming style vase for £60,000. We have resident experts in a diverse range of areas, including Collectors’ Items (David Taylor), Books (John Floyd), Oriental works of art (Douglas Wright) and Prints (Chris Dyer). We also employ a professional photographer to provide high quality images of all lots in our specialist auctions. Our Fine Art Sales are particularly well regarded, and within the past year have included works by prestigious artists including Stanhope Forbes, Robert Lenkieowicz, Laura Knight, the Hungarian artists Aba Novak, along with a number of oils by Samuel Lamorna Birch, to name just a few. With sales broadcast to an international audience, we routinely achieve record prices for significant works and collections. Our sale of a previously lost oil painting by the Indian artist Ram Kumar for £175,000 was one of the highest prices paid for such a work in the West Country. Despite this wealth of specialist knowledge, we are the only auction house in the area to still conduct sales of household items, which are held monthly, and are hugely popular with local people and tourists alike. Often consisting of over 1800 lots, they are an easy way to get rid of unwanted items, or to pick up a bargain. Items of high value are routinely transferred to our specialist sales after careful scrutiny by our experts. No matter what you intend to sell with us, we will always treat your lots with the utmost care, and will do our best to achieve the highest possible price for your consignment. Since 1979 our exciting Antiques sales have become established as a successful way of selling your valuables. The sales encompass a range of antiques, including jewellery, ceramics, furniture, oriental art and silver. We have the expertise to carry out meticulous and scholarly research when required and to consolidate that research, we routinely advertise across the county, but also work closely with the national press when items of particular interest are brought to us for sale. Our sale of an important Ancient Egyptian cat in 2015 for £52,000 or a rare Chinese vase that sold for £60,000 in 2016 are particularly good examples of this. Our Fine Art sales are renowned for being expertly catalogued, beautifully presented and terribly exciting. They encompass a large range of paintings, prints, sculpture and other related items such as artist’s jewellery, ceramics and books. We have specialist expertise in Cornish and West Country works but are equally comfortable with works from around the world. Our current Fine Art record is an oil painting by the Indian artist Ram Kumar which we sold for £175,000. We routinely advertise across the county, but also work closely with the national press when items of particular interest are brought to us for sale, such as a collection of amazing WWII propaganda posters late in 2014, which were widely reproduced in the national media and fetched £20,000. We are the only auction house in the area to still conduct sales of household items, which are held monthly, and are hugely popular with local people and tourists alike. Often consisting of over 1800 lots, they are an easy way to get rid of unwanted items, or to pick up a bargain. Items of high value are routinely transferred to our specialist sales after careful scrutiny by our experts. No matter what you intend to sell with us, we will always treat your lots with the utmost care, and will do our best to achieve the highest possible price for your consignment. The General Sales at David Lays frequently inspire questions, the most usual being an incredulous “Do you really sell all this in one day ?” and “Where does it all come from?” People come for the first time and see our sale of anything up to two thousand lots of Victorian to Modern furniture and effects. It is a room of people’s lives and there are many stories behind the goods, clearing a loved ones house, moving mum in with the family, upping sticks and moving to Spain in a camper van, and the perennial it was my mother’s, it’s been in the corner of the front room for twenty years and I’ve never liked it! The stories are as numerous as the lots. It is a place where people come in search of one thing and leave with an unexpected bargain, and maybe another question: ” Why am I going home with a unicycle, a sword and a copper coal scuttle when I am a pacifist living in a centrally heated third floor flat?” This I don’t know but I do know that once people have been they usually come again and again not only to view and buy but to look and learn what things are really worth, what to buy for home and what to buy to sell. I have been with David for over 25 years and am still fascinated and excited by our sales and the knowledge that comes with handling so much. I still enjoy not knowing, maybe even cataloguing something as a thing of some purpose until an ancient soul explains what it does and then it can suddenly become blindingly obvious, wonderful! Where else but at David Lay’s General Sale. Our Collectors’ sales, held bi-annually, showcase postcards, coins, medals, stamps, toys, books and manuscripts, many of which are of local interest. We also auction private collections, for example our 2013 Pendarves library sale, in which a huge number of books concerning mining and local geography were auctioned as part of an impressive two day sale. In a recent collectors sale we sold the medal entitlement group of Pt Thomas Byrne VC of the 21st Lancers. It was a fabulous sale and the medals had an exciting background story which we carefully promoted to the national media. Even without the original VC the medals sold for £40,000, a wonderful result gained by meticulous research and promotion.