John Pye Auctions Weekly Story – ‘An old cart and a pony’

It all began with an old cart and a retired pit pony called Spanker, bought for just £20. The result, for John Pye, has been recognition as one of the best-known business characters in the Midlands and a passion for buying and selling which has grown to become one of the biggest auction operations in the UK.

But what a fascinating and twisting road it has been for a man who could easily have been born in to the world with a gavel already firmly gripped in his hand. Fate seemed to steer him toward auctioneering for much of his life, despite his humble beginnings. Glimpses of high society in pre-war Derbyshire and a natural flair for selling acorns and horse muck as a boy combined to set the seal on his future career.

Success, though, was hard won. It came through long years of hard graft, together with steely determination and the natural charisma of a man who retains the endearing humour and accent of his Derbyshire mining village roots.

To all those who know him, John, at 84, is a one-off, hailing from that rare breed of driven British entrepreneurs who have a shrewd eye for the next opportunity, despite dyslexia preventing him from being able to write or spell.

From the public’s view, he has always been the showman and raconteur, who didn’t even own a gavel when he led his first proper auction. Instead he used a rolled-up newspaper. The crowd loved it. Everything was sold. And the rest is history, as they say


Buy the 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.

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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]