Victoria’s Favourite Auction House Moves After 67 Years of Business

One of Victoria’s most popular ‘treasure finding’ locations is relocating. Kilshaw’s Auctioneers, that has been offering Victorians a variety of arts, antiques, collectibles and home furnishings since 1949, will be relocating its full services to 1007 Langley Street, Victoria in early November. 

“This move into a new contemporary space gives us the opportunity to bring Victoria auctions into the 21st century,” said Alison Ross, owner of Kilshaw’s. “Our new custom-renovated heritage building is the perfect place for us to engage with our current customers and grow the appeal of auctions to newcomers.” 

Jeffrey Dean, Alison Ross, Roshan Vickery and Melanie Weston

Kilshaw’s new home is a carefully restored 1906 building owned by Richard Holmes of Pemberton & Son Ltd. The downtown facility is more than 6,300 square feet over two floors compared to 4,100 in the current location. Details right down to the lighting fixtures have been carefully chosen to reflect the era of the building.

“We are thrilled to have Kilshaw’s coming into this unique heritage space in our city,” said Richard Holmes, owner of Pemberton & Son Ltd. “The vintage of this building lends itself to housing art and artifacts while having a warm personal feeling that customers will love.”

Ross and her staff of 15, all with an interest in history or love of good ‘finds’, will continue to operate the much-loved Thursday night 6 pm auction from the new location. Viewing for ‘pre-shoppers’ will be on both levels, but auctions will be held upstairs in the newly named Ross Room.  

Ross worked previously for owner Don Kilshaw for nine years and purchased the business from him in 2006. With a Masters in History in Art, she has seen trends come and go, and uses her expertise to categorize the mid-century design, decorative arts and antiques.   

“These days what people don’t realize is that the majority of the items auctioned off are ‘normal pieces’ household items that you could buy in a store,” said Ross. “It’s less about antiques and more about paying less and recycling.”

In addition to the move, the company is undergoing a visual rebranding and will now have a dedicated consignment desk on the main floor with a new inventory system. Sunday viewing hours will be added to give the downtown audience more opportunity to pre-shop auction items. Most importantly, all specialty sale auction items will now be displayed on an online platform allowing them to be bid on internationally in real time.    

The last Thursday night auction at the current location will be on October 27, with the last day of business October 31. Kilshaw’s will reopen in early November in its new location on Langley Street.  

Quick Facts and History of Kilshaw’s

  • Kilshaw’s has been auctioneering since 1790 – that means Kilshaw’s has been selling through the reigns of six British Monarchs starting with George III (Mad King George). 
  • Kilshaw’s opened its Fort Street location in 1949 and has been selling there continuously for 67 years
  • Kilshaw’s auctioned off items from the estates of Admiral Mears (Scott Arctic Expedition), Princess Beatrice of Battenberg (daughter of Queen Victoria), and of local note Rithet, Maltwood, Pearson estates as well as the contents of the Eagle’s Nest
  • Kilshaw’s originally sold everything from farm implements, cattle and “well got hay” to household furnishings and even the “Green Dragon Inn”. A Kilshaw was entrusted by Cecil B. de Mille to sell off his collections and furnishings when he moved from L.A. to Hollywood. 
  • It is possible that a Kilshaw sold an item in England over 225 years ago that has since travelled around the horn to be sold once again under the Kilshaw’s flag.
  • The  Kilshaw  family still hold the record for longest continuous gavel pounding for any family in North America (even though Alison Ross bought the business ten years ago)
  • The most expensive item ever sold by Kilshaw’s was an Albert Bierstadt painting in 2008 for an astonishing $200,000
  • In the past decade, Kilshaw’s has sold in Victoria and shipped to Estonia, Australia, Germany, England, United States and across Canada