By Greggory Elliott
On December 14, 2017, an era came to an end. That’s when James D. Julia Auctioneers merged with Morphy Auctions to create one of North America’s largest antique auction houses.
“This is a merger of two really strong companies,” said Mark Ford, CEO of Julia’s. “Firearms is the crown jewel of what we do . . . and it looks like [Morphy Auctions] are going to have the full complement of Julia’s expertise joining their organization.”
Started in 1974, Julia’s is one of the country’s best-known auctioneers. The company has had a rare antique firearms and militaria division since the 1990s. It has brought thousands of extraordinary sporting arms to market, including a double rifle owned by Ernest Hemingway, the mythical “Czar of Russia” Parker A1 Special and “Bo Whoop,” the famous 12-gauge Super Fox built for outdoor writer Nash Buckingham.
Morphy Auctions is the “new kid” in the antiques and collectibles industry. Founded in 1997 by Dan Morphy, it has grown into a significant force in the business. With total annual sales of $35 million in 2017 (compared to Julia’s $43 million), this merger will more than double the company’s size. It also will strengthen Morphy’s current firearms and militaria division and give it the authority and reputation it needs to attract, promote and sell the world’s finest sporting arms.
According to Dan Morphy, “I have literally spent all my life watching and learning from Jim. With nearly 50 years in the industry, Jim has an undisputed reputation, and I admire and will emulate his business approach toward his clients and employees. It is an honor and privilege to have this new association with someone I have considered to be a mentor and leader in the industry.”
Jim Julia expressed similar confidence by saying, “Dan’s approach to adopting many of the key components of my business philosophy gave me a great sense of assurance, confidence and satisfaction in regard to the fact that my customers now and into the future will continue to have a wonderful auction experience as they have for many years with Julia’s.”
Since 2005, James D. Julia has held its firearms and militaria auctions at its facility in Fairfield, Maine. From March 21 to 23 the company’s last auction will be hosted there. It will be managed and conducted by the Julia’s team. All future activities will be overseen by Morphy Auctions, and consignments and sales will be handled out of the company’s Pennsylvania and Nevada locations.