James D. Julia, Inc.

Firearms Division
Upcoming Auction.
Spotlight
Spotlight
The Ithaca Sousa Grade Single Trap called for full-coverage fine scroll engraving punctuated with gold animal inlays. These famous shotguns were used for many years beginning in the early 1900s and are still being used to great effect. This shotgun sold for $31,050 in October 2007.
Click to see highlights for the March auction.
  Notable Treasure
In Pursuit of Rare Items
The last Sousa Grade double made in 1938 features exceptional medium scroll with ribbons framing full relief dogs. This piece sold for $69,000 in October 2013.

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New Website Launch
by Mark Ford, CEO
I wanted you to be among the first to know that we have just welcomed 2014 with a new website designed to make your online visit to Julia's as efficient, fun, and informative as possible. The new site is handsomely designed, chock-full of world-class photos, simple to navigate, and makes it easier than ever to find the exact auction, item, or price information you need. It can be found as always at www. jamesdjulia.com. You have come to know our website as an essential resource for all of your auction needs. We are certain that our new website will continue as that and more.

The new website features a clean, updated design that reflects our traditional look, values, and legacy. It features an enhanced "about us" section, named "Inside Julia's," which will give you an insider's perspective on the almost 60 year background of our company, as well as an overview of our founding priorities as stated by Jim Julia himself more than 40 years ago! Our company's specialty divisions-Rare Firearms, Fine Art, Asian & Antiques, Lamp & Glass, and Advertising, Toy, & Doll-are each brought to life with wonderful, full color... read more.


What's It Worth
Rare image of General George Custer together with Libby and Miss Cora Bean.
The Sousa Grade was made to order from 1916-1938 initially costing $500 and finally sold for $1,000.

If you have a rare firearm and want to know "What's it Worth," please take a picture and email it to us at firearms@ jamesdjulia.com. We are always looking for consignments of rare and valuable items, as well as collections for our auctions.

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

 
Strike Up the Band by Wes Dillon
While most certainly all of us can hum the familiar notes of the "Stars and Stripes Forever," and some of us might recognize that upbeat tempo of "The Liberty Bell" is the theme song of the classic British comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus. I would bet very few are aware that on November 6th 2013, the nation celebrated the 159th birthday of the man behind these patriotic compositions, one of the most remarkable and interesting men of the Gilded Age, the "March King," John Phillip Sousa.

Sousa was a Man's man. Not only did Sousa enjoy Rock Star status as an artist, he was an expert horseman, formidable boxer, baseball enthusiast, avid hunter and passionate live pigeon and trap shooter. Sousa began shooting seriously in 1906 competing at the invitation of prestigious eastern gun clubs and even the Grand National Handicap event in Vandalia, Ohio. From that time forward he was dedicated to the sport and served it in any capacity his busy professional life as an internationally acclaimed musician and composer would allow.

Wherever John Philip Sousa traveled, his fame preceded him and he drew large crowds from a generous and kindly press. His attendance at any shoot was usually accompanied by headline publicity which generated an increased interest in trapshooting and popularized its contestants. When asked by a Chicago reporter while attending the Grand what he considered life's best gifts, he replied "A Horse, A Dog, A Gun, and a Girl - with Music on the Side" which was the wonderful title of an article that had written for the American Shooter magazine.

Because of the scope and size of this archive, Emilio's materials are presented in two lots.


Perhaps no other company embraced the Sousaeffect more than the Ithaca Gun Co. Throughout the early 1900s, the King had been satisfied in competing in handicap events with a trusty

Prussian-made Charles Daly Single Barrel Trap. However, with the advent of WWI, Sousa thought it his patriotic duty to look to an American gun to assuage his deep hunger for perfection. In 1914, literally as the first shots were being fired, Ithaca rolled out its variation on the single barrel theme. Sousa having witnessed the new found success this new breed ordered a special gun in 1916 that incorporated many of the stock characteristics of his familiar Daly but personalized with a singular aesthetic beauty featuring fine English scrollwork across the action body, chamber area and appended metal, and identified with the initials "JPS" in a gold shield inlaid along the stock's toe line. The end result was very appealing and the Company, determined to promote their new creation, negotiated the branding rights to this most specialspecial order calling it the "Sousa Grade." They used the premise of the J.P.S. gun and added even more embellishments to this new design adding it to their product line in single and double barrel configurations. Naturally this exclusivity would be expensive and the new grade designation would be punctuated with gold inlays of dogs and ducks. The trigger guard would bear a relief engraved figure of a buxom mermaid in full splendor. Ithaca master engraver William McGraw was up to the task and the finished product would be worthy of the badge of honor and price tag it carried… $500 in 1918.

Ithaca factory records suggest that as few as 21 Sousa Grade single trap and only 11 Sousa double guns (including a lone .410) were ordered during their brief incarnation from 1916-1938. By 1938 Sousa had passed, the price tag had doubled to $1000, and with it the name was changed to reflect price, becoming the $1000 Grade. The last of the Sousa Grade guns produced (and the only magnum) recently graced the auction gallery of James D. Julia Inc as Lot 1421 in their October, 2013 sale. The gun is described in part:

TRULY EXCEPTIONAL, ONE-OF-A-KIND, ITHACA NID SOUSA/ $1000 GRADE 12 GAUGE MAGNUM. SN 500536... Case hardened action is crisply filed and engraved with exceptional, relief, medium scroll with ribbons running through pattern framing full relief gold inlaid dogs and game in extensively shaded vignettes. Scroll engraved trigger guard bow is gold inlaid with classic Sousa Grade jubilantly proud bare chested mermaid... Ithaca Gun Co invoice for this gun listed as $1000 grade, dated Nov 15, 1938, and sold for $1000.00 plus extras, including beavertail forend at $21.65, recoil pad at $2.25, and ivory sights at $1.10, for a total of $1025.00 to E. J. Britt of Lumberton, NC. CONDITION: Excellent as found…An incredibly rare investment quality Ithaca.

The response to the pre-auction publicity for this great rarity suggested that there would be serious collector interest having been just recently discovered in the possession of the original owner's extended family since its purchase, and remaining in original, unmolested condition. Besides, where are you going to find another one... ain't gonna happen! As with the handful of Sousa Grade Single Barrel Trap guns marketed by Julia's in the past, the collector base was narrow, yet very focused. What the market lacked in breadth and depth was more than compensated for by passion and resolve for ownership rights. By the time the smoke had cleared from the battlefield, a new caretaker had emerged, investing $69,000 to own a piece of Americana like no other. The final price representing a 4.14 x premium over the original sticker price as measured in 1938 dollars–a premium price in any era.

Letter from Luis Emilio's father

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.