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He had fought a long and courageous battle against cancer, vowing he would “never give up without one heck of a good fight”. He was 71.

Donald Ray Presley was born in Shawnee, Oklahoma, on May 14, 1945.

His first jobs were working in construction and at Gotham Steel. After being injured in a forklift accident at the steel plant, Don underwent major back surgery and spent much of his lengthy recovery time in bed. According to family lore, while recuperating, Don became infatuated with an audiotape someone gave him of an auctioneer conducting a sale. According to his wife, Kimberly, Don “got the bug, then and there”.

From 1998 to 2012, he ran his own company, Don Presley Auction Co, from a gallery on West Katella Avenue in Orange, California. Don’s sales were known for their welcoming atmosphere, catered Mexican feasts, and Presley himself, whose lively auctioneering style was punctuated by his quick wit and engaging Oklahoma drawl. When the firm relocated in 2014 to its current venue on South Main Street in Santa Ana, the company’s loyal clientele followed.

Presley’s friendly rivals often scratched their heads in amazement over the way Don was able to get into Beverly Hills and Newport Beach mansions to secure consignments. Those closest to him explained that it was because he had kept the same friends he knew from his youth.

Many were sons of immigrants who had arrived in California with very little money, but as adults they had become wealthy from building successful businesses. Whenever they wanted to sell art or downsize, they would call Don.

Any Don Presley auction typically contained high-end European decorative art, furniture and clocks, but through his Hollywood contacts, Presley was also entrusted with celebrity items. Over the years he sold an antique clock that belonged to Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra’s monogrammed shirt and a personal ensemble worn by Marilyn Monroe.

As per Don’s wishes, there were no formal services. Instead, there will be a party for his many friends in the antiques and auction trade. The family suggests charitable donations in Don’s memory to the American Cancer Society, cancer.org

Catherine Saunders-Watson for the family

of Don Presley and Don Presley Auction Co

SILVER dealer Ron Falloon died on January 4 aged 79 after a long illness.

He started dealing at The Good Fairy in the late 1970s. He moved to Grays and specialised in silver and jewellery.

His most prominent clients were Cher, Barbra Streisland (who always sought him out when they were in London) and Ralph Lauren. He also worked with Georg Jenson.

However, Ron’s fellow dealers were probably not aware that he had been one of London and Paris’ top fashion photographers of the Swinging Sixties, shooting for all the fashion houses, magazines and personalities of the era such as The Rolling Stones, Cilla Black, Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton.

William Lansbury

NEIL Thomas passed away on January 18, aged 68, after a long and brave fight.

Born and bred in Dorking, Neil was active in West Street during four decades, building up an enviable experience in the world of antiques.

An enthusiastic trader at the larger markets such as Newark and Ardingly, he became known in West Street for quality furniture, immaculately restored and polished. He had for many years been the ‘go to’ man in identifying exotic woods and veneers, and was readily available for a friendly consultation. He will be sorely missed in the street.

Sincere condolences to his partner Jane who has been his loyal support over the many months, and to his family.

Bruce van der Byl-Knoefel