James D. Julia, Inc.

Rare Firearms Division
Historic Firearms Auction.
This exceptional rising bite best quality Boss O/U 20 bore shotgun arrives at Julia's having been the cherished possession of a single family for over 60 years. Originally produced just prior to WWII in 1938, it represents an object of art created by the most skilled craftsmen during the pinnacle of gunmaking trade in London.
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Staff: Anne Leblanc
Anne LeBlanc came to James D. Julia nearly two years ago. She has brought to us years of experience in the administrative field having worked as a legal assistant and then later as a paralegal for approximately 20 years.

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JR LaRue Heading our consultant department is Mr. J.R. LaRue. J.R. has been a key and instrumental component to the success of this division. J.R. first started working with our company full time in 1996. Having worked with Julia's on a temporary basis as a consultant for some years up to that point, J.R. eventually sold and retired from his gun business and went to work full time with Julia's, heading the firearms division. In April 1998, as a result of a medical issue, J.R. decided to retire from the business and originally moved to Wyoming but continued to serve as a consultant for the Rare Firearms & Military Division. Since that time, he has become extensively involved in the assessment, acquisition and cataloging of a tremendous array of quality collections and firearms. His rapport, extraordinary sense of recall and immense depth of experience in the gun world has benefited this division tremendously.

You can call Josh Loewensteiner or Wes Dillon at 207-453-7125, or email us at firearms@jamesdjulia.com

What's It Worth
Boss 20 bore.
Offered in Julia's October 2011 sale as Lot 1330, this near new Pre-war Boss 20 bore O/U features an exceptionally rare selective single trigger and is housed in its original leather luggage case. Purchased new in 1940 at a price of $1,275, it remained with the same family until its sale at Julia's for a tidy sum of $189,750. Investment grade arms, when well-maintained over time, have historically been an exceptional vehicle for preserving value.
Boss & Co., Builders of BEST GUNS Only
Best Gun. These two words have a magical meaning to gun collectors. First used by British gun makers in the 19th century, a Best Gun was more than just the finest firearm a company produced. It was the maker's interpretation of what a fine shotgun could be and the basis for everything he hoped to achieve.

At the end of the 19th century, shooting was the past time of the wealthy. A Best Gun was the way to secure the patronage which could make a gunmaker successful and even rich. As makers competed for this attention, a handful of them earned a reputation for building the finest shotguns in the world.

Fine Boss Round Body Sidelock Ejector Single Trigger Lightweight Game Gun with Case
Fine Boss Round Body Sidelock Ejector Single Trigger Lightweight Game Gun with Case
The finest materials and flawless craftsmanship have always been a given on a Best Gun. To reach the pinnacle of the trade, a gunmaker needed to bring more to his craft, including an impeccable reputation, patented designs, and a look that set his guns apart. To stand out, a gunmaker needed to reinterpret what a Best Gun could be.

This is just what Britain's top makers did. In London, the big three James Purdey & Sons, Holland & Holland, Boss & Co-created shotguns that were uniquely their own.

But while James Purdey & Sons had the Beesley action and Holland & Holland had their Royal-model side-by-side, Boss & Co. had John Robertson. And it was because of Robertson that the shotguns made by Boss & Co are so revered by collectors today.

Robertson took over Boss & Co. in 1891. He was already one of the trade's top craftsmen; his new firm was well regarded, but not famous. Right away, Robertson applied his genius to reinterpreting what Boss's Best Gun could be. First, he updated it with refinements like bar-action sidelocks and a sleeker look.


Very fine Golden Age Boss 20 Bore Sidelock Ejector Game Gun
Very fine "Golden Age" Boss 20 Bore Sidelock Ejector Game Gun
Then he added his own patented features: The world's first reliable single trigger in 1894 and a unique ejector system in 1898.

By the time the twentieth century opened, Boss's shotguns were cutting edge and beautiful. People noticed and business boomed. But even as the fortunes of the company rose, Boss's most famous creation, and one of the most sought after shotguns in the world today, was still to come.

Firearms with stacked barrels have been around for hundreds of years, and before World War One, center fire over-under shotguns made in continental Europe showed up on the British shooting scene. Read More..

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At James D. Julia, Inc. we are always seeking high quality antiques of all types for our year-round auctions. We offer the best seller commission rates in the industry, as low as 0% for high value items and collections. Please contact us directly at 207-453-7125 to learn more or if you are considering consigning one item, an entire collection or an estate to auction. All inquiries are confidential and without obligation.