Where there’s a will, there’s a way to tap into novel ideas

Ian Ingram
Ian Ingram

An entire working life as an auctioneer and antiques dealer means Ian Ingram has a good few stories to tell.

The former Bearsden Academy pupil has worked in Glasgow and Perth, buying and selling high-value antiques and fine art.

But it is only since Ian retired that he’s had the time to put pen to paper and share some of his tales from the saleroom.

His first book – Old Secrets – was published in 2013 and, earlier this year, his second went on sale.

Where There’s A Will is available on Amazon and contains several characters from Ian’s first book.

And the 72-year-old bachelor has not ruled out a third.

He said: “The books are fiction but they relate to my knowledge within the arts and antiques world.

“Readers can expect to gain an understanding of what goes on in the saleroom and the kind of people buying and selling antiques.

“There was no clear determination to write a book; one day I just picked up a piece of foolscap paper and started scribbling it down.

“I had a few computer problems but, other than that, there were no real challenges.

“Some days I wouldn’t be able to write a thing and other days I couldn’t write it all down fast enough.

“After the first book was written, I self published.

“It isn’t an easy thing to do but I wasn’t at an age to write lots of letters to publishing companies in the hope they would take me on.

“I have endless stories, including ones from all the properties I have been to as a valuer.

“That might come up in another book!”

After leaving Bearsden Academy at the age of 17, Ian went on to work for two leading auctioneers in Glasgow.

Working at Robert McTear and later Norris and McCleary was “an eye-opening experience” for the youngster but one that he greatly enjoyed.

After moving to Perth, where he still lives, Ian worked for the well-known auctioneers Thomas Love and Sons.

Ian said: “It was a great experience and we dealt with many high-value pieces.However, as time went on I wasn’t really happy there as the business was moving more towards vintage cars.

“Then a friend of mine who had just opened his own antiques business told me about a shop that was about to become vacant – I could buy it and run my own business.

“That led to an interview with the bank manager – who was also from Bearsden – who kindly loaned me the money to buy the shop.

“I was going to auctions and buying antiques, pictures and furniture.

“Initially, I was getting a company to restore the furniture for me but they were making more from it than me, so I stood and watched them one day and thought, ‘I must try this myself’.”

The new shop was opened in 1974, simply called Ian C. Ingram.

A few years later, Ian opened the Tay Street Gallery in Perth where he had great success thanks to a stream of loyal clients.

But after running the business successfully for many years, things started to slow down.

Ian said: “It got to the stage people weren’t coming.

“The Americans stopped coming and some of my best clients had either died or retired.

“One afternoon, I looked at the dog and she looked at me, and we said it was time to go home.”

Ian worked from home for a few years and when he retired he found the time to start writing.

He said: “I absolutely loved writing the books, they really did just write themselves.

“It is difficult to get people to know about your books – I’m not a footballer or a movie star!

“But they have received some good feedback.”

One Old Secrets reader, who commented on Amazon, said the book had “taken the lid off the unscrupulous antiques world” while another called it a real “ page-turner”.

As well as contemplating a third book, Ian’s well-trained eye can still spot a treasure.

He added: “This year, candlesticks that I bought for £300 sold for £15,000. There are interesting things out there waiting to be found.

“When I started out I was a pauper, just a poor office boy. But one of the advantages of not having any money was spending lunch breaks in Kelvingrove Art Gallery looking at the art.”

Ian’s books are available to buy now on Amazon.