James R. Lawson Senior established himself as the leading auctioneer in Sydney Town during the 1870s when Sydney was a bustling market town, thronging with new immigrants full of pioneering opportunities as a new world city. In those days everything from groceries such as tea and salt, through to sailing ships were sold by public auction often on the wharfs. James R. Lawson was well known in his day as the leading auctioneer in Sydney and he also had a reputation as a great raconteur and the best dressed auctioneer in town.
Into this century the family owned company of Lawsons sold many of the finest collections at Sydney’s gracious homes including on site auctions at Toft Monks and Notable collections sold include the Burdekin House sale in 1922, the Norman Sheuruck collection in 1963, the Sim Rubensohn collection at Kelvin Lodge in 1973 and the Lloyd Jones collection at Rosemont Woollahra in 1981.
In September 2001 the Menzies Group of Companies acquired the historic Sydney auction house Lawsons with over 120 years unbroken auction history in Australia. The company now handles a wide range of property from domestic and general chattels through to the upper end of the market for Australian and International Art, Antique Furniture, Fine Wine, Jewellery, Decorative Arts and prestigious Home Contents Auctions and Single Vendor Collections.
In recent times Lawsons handled 'the Collection of Amana Finley and Sir Peter and Lady Finley' in Point Piper in April 2003, 'the Estate of the late Dr. Geoffrey Davis' at the Abbey, Annandale in 2009, 'the Estate of the late, the Honourable Roderick Pitt Meagher, A.O. Q.C' in Darling Point in 2011 and the Vizard Foundation Collection of Important Australian Silver and Gold in April 2012 achieving record prices for a colonial gold trophy cup and early goldfields jewellery.