John Pye Auctions Weekly Story – ‘Buried by a rock fall’

With his love of the open air and farming, the teenage John rejected pit life initially, but felt afterward that ‘it was the making of me.’ This was due in the main to the wages, starting at £6 a week, far more than his meagre farm money. Extra training took him into high earning coalface work, which saw him picking up an enviable £30 to £40 a week and, by 1950, an incredible £50 wage earned by going in at weekends.

Sensibly, he was putting money into the building society, bank and into National Savings which built up a very sizeable nest egg of £4500 when he left the pit after four years.

Not that life had been a bed of roses in the harsh underground world. Once he had been buried by a rock fall. On another occasion he lost finger end in an accident with a heavy steel drum.

Before the pits, however, John had always harboured a desire to become an auctioneer. This had been nurtured by his time with the Smith family. At 16, he tried to get a start at the Cattle Market in Nottingham but four firms turned him down.


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)

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