Company name
Wilsons Auctions


What town/city are you based in?
UK & Ireland

Number of generations
3rd generation

Auction Industry

Number of employees


Tell us about your family business (What you do, how you started, who’s involved etc)
Wilsons Auctions was formed by William J Wilson in 1936, the company is now directed by his son Ian Wilson. It has grown from a single auction site in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland to become the largest independent auction company in the UK and Ireland.

Ian’s children all have positions within the company, Ricky Wilson is Dublin’s Branch Manager and Gareth Wilson is Dalry’s Branch Manager while Rebecca Wilson is Head of Corporate Services.
Wilsons Auctions currently holds over 1,000 auctions annually, auctioning everything from cars and vans, plant and machinery & property to general goods, as well as the more luxurious items including planes, yachts, gold bars, supercars, designer goods and prestigious watches.

The company manages the whole asset realisation process for its clients which include; collection, valuation, storage, re-marketing and auctioning of assets.

Wilsons Auctions has sixteen sites, including eight branches in Belfast, Portadown, Dalry, Dublin, Telford, Queensferry, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and Maidstone. It is the only auction company in the British Isles to offer a national coverage allowing it to draw on experience, resources and ideas from all of its branches.

What’s your proudest moment/biggest achievement as a family business?
Last year proved to be a very significant year for Wilsons Auctions, a family-owned business reaching the milestone of 80 years is an achievement the company is immensely proud of.

Not only this, but Wilsons Auctions reached its 80th year in such a strong business position, successfully achieving substantial tenders, the acquisition of new sites as well as industry awards and recognition, making 2016 one of its most successful years to date.

Wilsons Auctions acquired two new auction sites in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and Maidstone, Kent last year which further strengthens its competitive advantage by enabling Wilsons Auctions to be the only auction company to provide national coverage. This, in turn, allows it to assess and move volumes of product for remarketing, to the auction branch best suited for a particular type of product.

Wilsons Auctions’ ongoing development and growth strategy over recent years have included further market penetration by growing its client base by successfully tendering for new business.

The company has been successful in a number of applications for important tenders and proposals, which has led to it managing the asset realisation process for over 170 government agencies including over 40 law enforcement agencies across the UK and Ireland.  Wilsons Auctions is proud to say that over £80 million has been paid back to the public purse in recent years due to these proceeds of crime being disposed of via its services.

Wilsons Auctions was also awarded the tender to be the sole auction provider for all public sector bodies in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland, including the sale by auction of any type of asset. Being able to offer such a diverse, flexible and ever evolving range of remarketing services from all of its business units is one of Wilsons Auctions unique selling propositions.

What do you love about being a family business?
Wilsons Auctions is a progressive and forward-looking company with a passion for continually finding new ways to offer first-rate sales and services to both buyers and sellers alike, confirming its longevity in the auction industry and continual business growth.

In addition, Ian Wilson recognises the fantastic team of over 300 staff whose hard work and dedication have helped the company reach the position it is in today.
Wilsons Auctions has always remained a family business ethos throughout its growth, treating its customers well with each item entrusted for sale as if it were a personal item; the auction company has built up a thorough understanding of the market which is vital for its growth plan.

The auction company is focused therefore on the creation of a strong brand, culture and work environment that attracts and retains the right people who can contribute to the development of the business. Wilsons Auctions has also established long-standing and valued relationships with suppliers allowing it to design a smooth chain of operation across the auction process.