The auction house rises from its ashes five years after a devastating fire

An auction house rises from its ashes nearly five years after a devastating fire to host the first sale in its new premises.

Iain M. Smith Auctioneers located at Perth Airport was destroyed in a fire in March 2018 and the business was forced to relocate to a temporary site.

Despite the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the auction house has persevered and has now moved into a new split-level unit about five times the size of the previous site just 100 yards from the rubble of its old home.

To celebrate, more than 2,000 items are being auctioned off at the company’s inaugural three-day sale Jan. 26-28.

A letter signed by Napoleon will go under the hammer STV News
A letter signed by Napoleon will go under the hammer

“It will be great to be in the new building to do our first sale here, the amount of space we have now is fantastic, we have room to display everything so the public can see everything properly and have a viewing live in the bedrooms so they can come and walk around, pick things up and watch them,” owner Iain Smith told STV News.

“Sales are also all online, so it will be a very good experience to have this space to conduct business as we wish.”

After the devastation of the fire, the business suffered another blow during the pandemic, forcing in-person auctions to go live.

Although Iain thinks nothing beats bidding in person, the company has thrived online and attracted new customers from all over the world.

A Chinese vase is also up for auction, dating from around 1740.STV News
A Chinese vase is also up for auction, dating from around 1740.

“Online sales have tripled our business in the past two years since we went online,” he said.

“We now have buyers around the world from Tasmania, China and all over mainland Europe monitoring the sales, so it’s been an incredible improvement for the business.”

The upcoming auction will see a number of interesting acquisitions go under the hammer, including a Chinese wedding sleigh and a letter demanding 240 francs signed by a fairly famous French ruler.

A Chinese wedding sleigh will go under the hammer. STV News
A Chinese wedding sleigh will go under the hammer.

“We have an eclectic mix of items for this auction, we have a document signed by Napoleon Bonaparte from around 1780 requiring money for it to be in the sale, we have vintage traction engines from the late 1880s we have some old Chinese porcelain there is a nice vase that arrived which is from around 1740 which is around the time of the Jacobite rebellion in this country,” Iain said.

“All very interesting items we have out of the 2000 lots we have for sale.”