100 Years of Ross's
Northern Ireland’s leading auction house, Ross’s Auctioneers and Valuers, is marking its 100th anniversary with an investment of £750k in its Belfast facilities, establishing the business for future growth through new audiences and markets.
Ross’s is led by a father & son partnership: Daniel Clarke, chartered surveyor, art expert and auctioneer, and his son Angus, who is responsible for marketing and development of the business.
Based in a landmark Grade-B listed building in Belfast’s May Street, Ross’s reputation is established on sales of Irish art, antiques, and quality furniture. Over the last 10 years, the auction house has diversified into high-end jewellery, gemstones, and watches, which now account for 30% of its turnover.
Employing a team of 14, the Clarkes have also developed their business model in line with changing consumer trends such as recycling and sustainable living. The auction house has also been influenced by programmes such as Antiques Roadshow and The Repair Shop, as well as the growth of online bidding sites like eBay and Gumtree.
The recent investment, which has created three new jobs, includes the digitisation of the business, ensuring the auctions are available online and are supported across all digital channels.
Ross’s has also enhanced its pre-auction viewing facilities by investing in the latest 3-D photo technology to capture detailed imagery of its extensive jewellery collection. A fully secure room to showcase its diamonds, jewellery, and watches has also been opened to the public and two gemstone specialists have been appointed to advise, value and market the range.
The historic building, which has survived two World Wars and four attempted bombings during the 1970s and 80s, has also been upgraded and extensively refurbished to include new exhibition spaces, photography rooms, and art storage areas with bespoke racking.
“This investment in our business coincides with our centenary, but our focus is very much on the future,” said Angus Clarke.
“We’ve always had a very loyal client base, across the island of Ireland, and our bricks & mortar business remains our centrepiece, providing the personal, face-to-face experience which many still prefer.
“However our online auction platform meets the needs of the growing numbers of customers who prefer to buy from a distance. Now we have worldwide exposure combined with the convenience of bidding at the touch of a button. This accessibility is a win:win for vendors and buyers alike – fully backed by our reputation for expertise, knowledge and trust.”
To officially mark its new business chapter, the Clarkes are hosting an exhibition of works by renowned Irish artist, Noel Murphy. Launching on 19 October, the exhibition will centre on 100 years of auctioneering at Ross’s.