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David Halliwell, pictured with assistant manager Georgia Booth, has a joint venture with the landlord of the premises for his new firm Wigan Auction House.

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The music industry isn’t what it used to be and after more than a decade managing Britpop band The Verve, entrepreneur David Halliwell has ditched the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle for the saleroom.

He has launched Wigan Auction House and is hiring new staff for the operation.

The Verve, famous for hits including Bitter Sweet Symphony, The Drugs Don’t Work and Lucky Man, was formed in Wigan in 1990 and broke up for a third time in 2009.

Halliwell worked in London in the record industry until six years ago when he returned to Greater Manchester with his family.

Fresh start

He set up Prospect Probate Services five years ago and expanded this with an estate agency and an online house auction business called Hammer Price Homes. He now employs 15 people.

His latest expansion is to open Wigan Auction House, which plans its first sale on September 2.

Initially it will hold monthly general sales but there are expectations it will eventually launch regular focused art and antiques sales.

Prospect Probate Services works with councils, solicitors and administrators specialising in deceased estates, often when the person has died without a will or without legacy.

It specialises in house clearances, property sales, unoccupied property insurance and asset valuations.

Consignments will be taken from other vendors but the bulk of the lots of the initial sales will be from estates that Prospect is managing.

Do it yourself

Halliwell said: “I decided that rather than use external auction houses to sell items from the house clearances we do, I could actually set up an auction firm myself.”

Many of the estates the firm has recently dealt with have been those of collectors, he added. Upcoming auctions include a steam engine collection.

Wigan Auction House has employed two staff and is searching for a part-time valuer.

Halliwell added: “There is a gap in the market in this area for an auction firm. We have enough consignments lined up for the next five auctions.”