It started with one man, a cart and a horse called Spanker!

Now it has become the UK’s fastest growing auction house, a name synonymous with auctions.

This Christmas you can read all about the life and times of the man who started it all – John Pye himself.

Our company founder and Chairman has spent over six decades of a working lifetime on the rostrum and on the road providing valuations and recorded his many memoirs along the way. Now these stories have now been published in a book, titled ‘An Auction of Laughs’, which is now available to order, priced £6 (£7 with postage) with all profits to be donated to the British Red Cross.

The book is an ideal Christmas stocking filler for anyone with an interest in auctions and bargains; a highly amusing collection of anecdotes from the both auction rostrum and out on the road providing appraisals and valuations for all manner of chattels, fine art, antiques and even livestock.

An Auction of Laughs is a the story of a self-made man, an ex-miner, who took redundancy from Langley Mill pit and started up in the auction world with his old eleven hands pit-pony, Spanker, and a cart; undertaking property clearances no other Auctioneers wanted to do in the late Sixties. From there John Pye got a foothold in the local auction market.

John Pye had initially cleared out enough properties to amass enough saleables for a his first auction in 1968 and rented some space at Nottingham’s old Cattle Market in Meadow Lane, where he held his first ever auction. He didn’t own a Gavel so instead used a rolled newspaper to strike the winning bids.

The rest, as they say, is history. From that day John Pye & Sons has grown organically and substantially, acquiring the old Shipstone’s ‘Star’ brewery in the mid 90s for the company’s Head Office, securing many of the UK’s biggest Government disposals contracts, acting on behalf of the UK’s main Banks, Finance Houses and Retail PLCs, expanding across the UK with 12 nationwide sites, sponsoring Nottingham Forest Football Club and this year sending a John Pye Auctions model house up to space for the launch of John Pye Property Auctions.

John Pye said: “It’s been a truly fantastic journey for our family business. Whilst it’s a serious business there have been many light hearted moments along the way, the best of them chronicled in ‘An Auction of Laughs’. This book is intended to share my stories with readers. I hope everyone truly enjoys my tales starting with the Dead Donkey!”

You can now order your copy of ‘An Auction of Laughs’ by John Pye by simply dropping a email to and we will happily arrange postage or via Waterstones (Nottingham)

You also can make a single donation to Disaster Fund if you click here.