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Leading auctioneer and SDL co-founder Rory Daly dies after ‘long and brave battle’

Born in Dublin, he initially started up an estate agency before then embracing the auctions sector, which he dominated for many years at SDL.

Nigel Lewis

rory daly obit

Leading auctions and property industry figure Rory Daly, who was one of the founders of SDL Property Auctions, has died aged 63 after a ‘long and brave battle with illness’, his company has revealed.

Rory had more than 30 years’ experience as an auctioneer in the property sector and was CEO of CPBigwood prior to its acquisition by the SDL Group in 2015.

SDL Group then acquired Graham Penny Auctions the following year and created SDL Property Auctions.

During this time, Rory was known to be a champion of all things, and all people auctions – and was an energetic force behind SDL’s expansion.

Honest and transparent

“In his own words: “Auctions and I suit each other. We’re both very similar – straightforward, no time wasting, just honest and transparent.”

His knowledge and passion for the sector will be greatly missed.

During his career, Rory raised over £1.5 million for various causes via regular charity auctions and once conducted an auction in the presence of royalty.

His other great passion was West Bromwich Albion FC where he was a season ticket holder.

Early years

He was born in Dublin 46 years ago, the third child of two student doctors who were completing their training at Trinity College.

His father came from Birmingham, his mother was of mixed Scottish-Irish extraction, and a few months after he was born, the family returned to the Midlands. Rory’s father set up a general practice in Quinton in Birmingham, and the young Daly was packed off to boarding school in Lancashire. “It was not an enjoyable period,” he told the Birmingham Mail in 2005.

Rory left the school and completed his A levels at St Philip’s Grammar School in Edgbaston. He decided not to go on to university, much to his parents relief.

“I had no clear plan, but I decided I wanted to go out and earn some money,” he said.

A job as an office clerk at BUPA followed, but Rory felt restricted by an orthodox white-collar job, and decided to move on, and in 1983 he joined Queensway, a financial investment company in Birmingham.

It was there that he met Paul Bassi, with whom he set up an estate agency (Bond Wolfe, which remains a significant player in the property sector) but the pair eventually parted amicably and Rory went on to embrace auctions.

“Rory was a true family man, and everyone at SDL Property Auctions sends their deepest condolences and love to his family and friends,” a statement from SDL said.

May 26, 2022

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