About Us

Founded by David Lay as a small enterprise in 1979, David Lay DSC_4435Auctions 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.