History of James D. Julia, Inc.

Over 40 years of experience

Since it’s beginnings in the mid-1960s, James D. Julia Auctioneers has had a seamless track record of success and highlights-both within the company and as an auction industry leader. Take a look at our company history, record sales, and priorities to see why James D. Julia is the only place you should consider buying and selling at auction.

History of James D. Julia, Inc.

Mid 1960s: Arthur Julia, James D. Julia’s father, starts a small country
auction house which quickly becomes popular in central Maine.

1974: James D. Julia graduates from college and purchases the business from his father. Jim continues in his father’s footsteps and expands and grows the business into a well-respected auction firm.

1980s: The company grows by leaps and bounds and is known as a significant regional New England auction house. After studying and responding to market trends and customers’ needs, the company begins organizing into specialty divisions as well as producing high quality and beautifully illustrated print catalogs. By the end of the 1980s, the auction house is known nationally.

1990s: James D. Julia establishes five specialty catalog divisions. These include:

  • • Rare antique firearms and militaria
  • • Rare glass & lamps
  • • Toy, doll, antique advertising & coin-op machines
  • • Fine art, antiques & estates
  • • Rare antique decoys

Late 1990s-early 2000s: The company has established leadership roles in each of their divisions. Although the company sold its interest in the decoy division in the 1990s to another firm, it continues today to be the exclusive auctioneer for this former division.

1998: Over competitors Sotheby’s and Christie’s, James D. Julia wins the opportunity to auction an important $5 million estate from Rye, New York. The company convinces the heirs to move the collection to Maine for auction. The results are extraordinary; numerous world records are shattered and the auction proves not only the capability of Julia’s, but proves the significance of Maine as a major auction location.

2000: In partnership with the Guyette & Schmidt Decoy Auction Company and Sotheby’s, Jim Julia shares Sotheby’s auction podium with Sotheby’s auctioneers to auction the $11 million Jim McCleary Decoy Collection. Jim Julia is the first and only outside auctioneer to ever auction at Sotheby’s New York auction house, forever elevating Jim Julia, and the James D. Julia auction house, to international status.

2005: James D. Julia unveils a state of the art auction barn adjacent to the company’s headquarters. Starting back in the 1980’s, Julia’s auctions were often held in rented, offsite locations, sometimes as far away as Massachusetts and New York. In the late 1990’s, Julia’s decided to hold its auction events in Fairfield. As a first step towards this, the company repurposed an antique barn, which at the time was being used for onsite storage, into a small auction gallery. The old barn had its challenges, including bad heat and no air conditioning. In 2005, the company updated this aging facility with the modern and full service auction gallery it is famous for today.

2012: James D. Julia expands it service footprint by opening a limited service facility in Woburn, Massachusetts to deliver first rate identification, valuation, and auction services to customers in the Boston and Southern New England areas. Within a few months of opening its doors, the Woburn office, under the direction of industry veterans James Callahan and Martin Willis, discovers many world class finds, including a Korean Longevity Screen (sold for over $603,000), civil war armaments (sold for over $103,000), and original presentation fire buckets from the early 1800s (sold for $36,800).

2012: Mark Ford, former Chief Financial Officer for Day’s Jewelers, joins James D. Julia as the company’s first ever CEO. Hired to continue the company’s long history of innovation in the antique auction industry, Ford is charged to take James D. Julia to the next level-especially in the areas of service and technology.

2012: James D. Julia unveils a technology which will forever change the way auction enthusiasts view auction lots online. Called 360° View, this advancement, which details and magnifies multiple angles of each lot, allows customers to inspect items from every perspective–from the comfort of their own homes. It’s as if lots were placed on a slowly rotating Lazy Susan for a personal review and evaluation!

2013: In an effort to develop its reputation for excellence throughout New England, as well as introduce itself to new fine arts enthusiasts, James D. Julia partners with the Rockport(Massachusetts) Art Association to preview the John F. Gale Collection of Outstanding New England Paintings. The standing room only event, which features over 120 paintings and a talk by Antiques Roadshow regular and fine art and antiques appraiser Colleene Fesko, is the first time that Julia’s held a full offsite collection preview. It is also the first time ever that the Rockport Art Association’s well lit display spaces are used for an independent auction preview.

2015: To keep building its international reputation for excellence across key firearms categories, James D. Julia James D. Julia announces a New Sporting and Collector Firearms Auction. Moving forward, this new semi-annual event will immediately precede Julia’s Extraordinary Auction of Rare and Historic Firearms, and will feature firearms and related items in the $2,000-8,000 range.

2017: Effective December 14th, 2017, Dan Morphy of Morphy Auctions proudly announced that he has successfully merged with the renowned international auction company of James D. Julia, Inc., which will become a division of Morphy Auctions. Morphy Auctions and James D. Julia, Inc. share a common purpose of delighting collectors worldwide with aligned missions and unparalleled customer service standards. Joining forces creates a synergistic team of passionate staff members to better serve our customers and strengthen the antiques and collectibles industry. Both companies take pride in having the most talented and knowledgeable experts in the industry. One of the biggest advantages to this merger is blending both teams of leading experts to enhance processes, descriptions and valuations. Read More.

2018: For the final auction to be held in Fairfield, Maine before moving all operations to Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pennsylvania, the newly merged and expanded firearms team of James D. Julia Auctioneers and Morphy Auctions is honored and extremely pleased to present the magnificent collections of the late Ray Bentley. Ray’s dad before him was a collector of firearms and the passion for collecting was passed on to Ray at a very early age. Ray’s Winchester collection, based on condition, rarity and value, is the finest of its type currently in private hands today. Read More.

Two generations of family, the late Arthur and his wife Lila Julia (left) along with Sandy and Jim Julia (right)

Original Auction Barn

Auction Barn circa 1970s

Brand new auction barn 2005