Ab Newman at the pulpit he purchased from Wales and brought to Williams Lake to use as his podium. Monica Lamb-Yorski photos

SMART 55: Hub City Auctions owner hanging up the gavel

After 43-year legacy Hub City Auctions to close

After running Hub City Auctions the last 43 years, owner Ab Newman is preparing to host his last sale.

“I’m too old to cut the mustard,” Newman said, adding he will hold his final auction on Saturday, Sept. 7 at its South Lakeside location and said he will continue into the day until everything is gone.

“It’s been a family affair,” Newman said as he and his daughter, Amber, arranged items on the tables.

“She was a baby in the back when we first got going. Our son Scott ran the concession when he was about five years old.”

Born in Paradise, Nfld., he got his start auctioning when he was in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and after serving overseas, he saw a listing for an empty building for sale in Williams Lake.

“An American owned the building at the time. Originally it was Hodgson Freightways and I think Mr. Letters had a carpentry shop here, but it was closed for years and years.

“I thought it would be a good auction building so I bought it,” he said.

The Newmans moved to Williams Lake in 1976 and he held his first auction in 1977 and has been going ever since.

Most of his collection comes from people in the Cariboo, some from different estates.

When asked about fun things he’s auctioned off, he said a live tarantula and an empty coffin — although he thinks someone slept in it for a day or two.

Read more: History goes to the highest bidder

Regularly, Newman said he auctioned items from the government and many different organizations.

When a church closed down in Chester, Wales he purchased a pulpit so he could use it as a podium.

“I thought it would look good in here and it’s been pretty good to me.”

Holding up a basket woven by an Indigenous person, Newman said those are the types of items he really treasures.

“It’s good, good stuff. This is a Tsilhqot’in basket, extremely rare,” he said picking up a basket from a table.

Walking over to a display case he pulled out a lock and key.

“Where else can you find solid brass locks with keys? This is my favourite one here — how would you ever get into it?”

Over the years it’s been the thrill of watching people buy treasures and take them home and appreciating the items as much as he does.

Anywhere from 50 to 100 people show up for an auction.

“As long as I have two or more I’m OK,” he added, causing Amber to chuckle.

Once he auctioned the Chilko Lake Resort for “big” money and he sold several properties for the government in a slide area on Hazel Street in the Juniper area.

“That was kind of different, selling lots of houses and things. I sold cranes, trucks, cars, artifacts, jewellery, stained glass windows.”

Pointing to a framed black and white portrait hanging on a wall he said it could be his sister, but it wasn’t.

The auction will start at 10 a.m. and will go until he’s done.


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Ab with his personal scouting collection.

Ab Newman auctions off cakes at Boitanio Mall in the 1980s. Tribune archives

Ab Newman (centre) with his wife Heather (left) and their daughter Amber.

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