The Julia auction company originated in the mid-1960s. It was started by Jim’s father, Arthur Julia. The small country auction house quickly became popular in central Maine and developed a very large following. By 1974, after graduating from the University of Maine at Orono, Jim purchased the business from his dad and continued to expand and grow as a well-respected auction firm.
By the 1980s, the company had expanded significantly and become a regional New England auction house and at that time began to move on to
the next level. In the late 80s with the establishment of various divisions and production of detailed catalogs which could be disseminated over the entire world, the auction house became a national name.
By the1990s the company had established five specialty catalog divisions 1) rare antique firearms and militaria, 2) rare glass & lamps, 3) toy, doll, antique advertising & coin-op machines, 4), fine art, antiques & estates, and 5) specialty division dealing only in the sale of rare antique decoys. (In the early 90s Jim sold his interest in the decoy firm to his two partners,
Frank Schmidt and Gary Guyette but continues today to be the exclusive auctioneer for this division.)
By the late 1990s/early 2000s, Julia’s had established leadership roles in each of the divisions that they currently operate in.
1. The Firearms Division today consistently conducts the highest grossing firearms auctions in the world. As a matter of fact, their March 2008 auction at $12,700,000 was the largest gross ever attained by any firm in history. Also their average sale value per lot is far higher than any other auction firm in the industry. Currently at around $10,000 per lot, that is between 4 to 6 times the average sale value per lot of any other firearms auction firm. In addition, in October of 2008 they set the world record for the most expensive single firearm ever sold at auction in history, a Colt Walker which attained nearly a million dollars!
2. The Rare Glass & Lamp Division is the leader in this genre throughout North America. In June of 2008, this specialty sale grossed a little over $3 million making it the largest grossing glass & lamp auction to take place in North America for the previous 12 months.
3. The Antique Toy, Doll & Advertising Division is one of the four leading auction houses of its type in North America and regularly establishes both national and world records.
4. The Fine Art & Antiques Division conducts three sales a year and has a national and international reputation as well as established numerous world and national records. This division normally handles complete estates and has individual items in almost any antique collectible category.
In the fall of 1998, James D. Julia, Inc. competed with numerous auction houses including international companies such as Sotheby’s and Christies to win a major estate from Rye, New York. Julia’s not only won the competition for the $5 Million estate but also convinced the heirs to allow him to move the collection to Maine for auction where he predicted the goods would bring more money. The results were extraordinary. Numerous world records previously set at New York auction houses were shattered and the auction proved not only the capability of the Julia firm, but proved the significance of Maine as a major auction location.
January of 2000 was another historical milestone for James D. Julia, Inc. The heirs of an $11 Million decoy collection were trying to decide on an auction house. They were considering the Guyette & Schmidt Decoy Auction Company (originally started by James D. Julia, for which Jim is still the exclusive auctioneer) and Sotheby’s international auction house in New York. After much consideration, the heirs made a special stipulation for both Sotheby’s and Guyette & Schmidt to work as special one-time partners to auction the collection. The results were previously unprecedented for both companies; the two different auction companies worked together in partnership to conduct the auction and on January 22, 2000 Jim Julia shared Sotheby’s auction podium with Sotheby’s auctioneers to auction the famous Jim McCleary Decoy Collection. Jim Julia was the first and only outside auctioneer to ever auction at the Sotheby’s New York auction house.
Today, at a high-profile company such as Julia’s, between 60%-80% of all items sold are sold to absentee bidders. Fewer and fewer live bidders now attend the auctions; they would rather, for the sake of convenience and time saving, participate through an absentee bid process. Julia’s organization is now best structured to not only serve live participants but also maximize the ease of the absentee bid process. Knowing the importance of absentee bidders, Julia’s catalogs are the finest in the marketplace. Lavish, large and detailed color photos, lengthy descriptions written by some of the country’s foremost experts and most importantly, a limited guarantee policy for 45 days assuring the buyer that the goods are as they are purported to be (this process is almost unique in an auction world where nearly all of Julia’s competitors offer their things caveat emptor “as is, where is”). Thus the guarantee policy removes all risk for the absentee bidder who can then submit bids by fax, internet or traditional mail. These absentee bids will be executed by Julia’s staff during the auction in a competitive manner. Other absentee bidders can participate by making arrangements to be on the phone at the precise time the lot they are interested in is being sold. Modern cell phones therefore allow a bidder to participate from literally any place on the planet and indeed they do.
Of equal importance is the auction state-of-the-art technology which now allows Julia’s auctions to be broadcast on the internet at the exact time that the goods are being sold. Therefore, whether you live in St. Petersburg, Florida or St. Petersburg, Russia, you can sit at your computer and bid live time on any item being sold at Julia’s auction facilities in Fairfield Maine. This makes Julia’s clients goods available to (potentially) literally millions of people across all over the planet.
At one time in years past, the adage “location, location, location” was as important in the auction world as in most other venues. Auction houses in non-metropolitan areas twenty years ago sometimes operated at a bit of a disadvantage. However, today the reverse is actually true. Because the majority of bidders participate by absentee process and because Julia’s avails themselves of the latest forms of modern technology to maximize these bids, a non-metropolitan location now becomes an advantage. Not only do we attract as many bidders (and sometimes more) than our metropolitan counterparts, our non-metropolitan location gives us a significant advantage over them in that our overhead and cost to do business is a fraction of theirs. This significant savings is passed along to our consignors in the form of reduced commission rates. Thus Julia’s can offer maximum participation, some of the finest presentation of goods in the industry, some of the country’s leading experts and thus one of the strongest returns in the business while, at the same time, all of this provides for lower commission rates than any other firm in the business
The history of Julia’s represents strong growth and continual successes and is just one of the reasons collectors, heirs, law firms, trust departments and institutions all over the U.S. and in Europe have used us and is just one of the reasons you should consider us also. Today and in the future, Julia’s auction house will continue its goals of the past:
1. To continue to be a leader in each of the fields it operates.
2. To provide the finest level of service in the industry.
3. To continue to offer the lowest commission rates in the industry.
4. To focus on specializing on items and collections of quality, rarity and value while at the same time providing an outlet to clients for mid-range and lesser valued things via the Poulin Auction Company.
5. To continue to focus on maximizing the ultimate net return to their clients for their goods.
Visit us at our state-of-the-art website which has complete, up to date information on upcoming sales in each of our divisions as well as historical information about past auctions and a great introduction to our company as a whole. Our entire website will soon have an interactive research device allowing participants to research historical data regarding objects sold in the past and prices realized.