At a formal ceremony on Monday May 14th, Governor Paul LePage presented James D. Julia Auctioneers of Fairfield, Maine with the 2012 Governor’s award for Business Excellence. This was the 22nd annual awards which are administered by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and sponsored by FairPoint Communications. The award recognizes Maine companies that demonstrate a high level of commitment to the community, employees, and to manufacturing or to service excellence. Only six Maine companies received this award this year, and as per Governor LePage, “This year’s honorees represent businesses that are regional, national, and International leaders in their fields”. Governor LePage came into office with a promise to focus on expanding job bases in Maine. His approach is to minimize cumbersome regulations and to encourage business development in general throughout the state. As such, the awards and what they represent were very much a part of LePage’s philosophy for the State of Maine.
The company conducts specialty catalog auctions of high-end antique collectibles, and is divided into four primary divisions:
1. Rare Firearms and Military Division. Based on the sale of high-end quality firearms, Julia’s is currently the leader in the world today. They do not sell the most firearms; they sell the greatest number of valuable firearms at auction. For approximately eight years now, their auctions have averaged just under $10 million dollars each with the recent March 2012 auction generating nearly $18 million dollars, which is by far the largest grossing firearms auction conducted by any firm in the world.
2. Fine Lamp and Glass Division. Julia’s rare lamp and glass division is one of the top three in the world today. It regularly features one of the finest array of quality lamps and glass offered including rare Tiffany, Handel, Pairpoint, Quezal, and other lamps, exquisite French and English cameo glass, high-end art glass including Tiffany, Durand, Quezal, quality Victorian glassware, rare paperweights, silver, and jewelry.
3. Rare Toy, Doll, and Antique Advertising Division is one of the top three of its type in North America today. In 2010 it set the new world record for the most expensive antique toy ever sold at auction anywhere in the world. It being a small early American Santa Claus and sleigh being pulled by goats that realized just over $160,000.
4. Fine Art, Antiques, and Asian Division. This division is one of the leaders in the country today, and their new Asian Division recently featured a number of items which had come from the descendent of the last Emperor of China. In February of 2010 they sold Washington’s hand-drawn map of the siege of Yorktown for nearly $1.1 million dollars.
Julia also started a rare decoy auction division many years ago, and sold that to his two partners some years back. At the time, it was the largest decoy auction house in the world. It still is the largest decoy firm in the world, and while Julia no longer owns that division, he still serves as a consultant and auctioneer annually for this firm.
The Julia Company has always been aggressive in marketing their clients’ goods, and has been innovative in marketing techniques and special services. Some of their approaches are unique in their industry. In 2008, when the economy began to go sour, Julia was prepared. Anticipating the decline in the economy and in consideration of the strength of his company at that time, he invoked a new approach to commissions. All auction houses charge the seller a seller’s commission and the buyer a buyer’s premium. The auctioneers keep both of those commissions for their services. Just as the economy was beginning to get very tough and auctioneers were faced with a declining number of goods being offered to them, Julia’s invoked his 0% stimulus plan. Essentially, he set up a commission structure for sellers that declined as the average value of their consigned good increased. Therefore, a consignor with expensive goods could expect as little as 0% commission charge. While other auction houses were scurrying to cut costs and services, Julia increased services and cut their commission fee, and as a result stimulated greater response than normal and continued to attract not only a large quantity of consignments but a greater quantity of high-end consignments. Last year Julia’s initiated their Estates and Collections Division, a unique division in the auction industry in that it works with antique collectors to formulate eventual plans for a collector’s collection. This year, Julia’s started a new satellite office in Woburn, Massachusetts to better serve those clients in the greater Massachusetts area and further on. Their new office is located in the elegant and historic 1790 House located at 827 Main Street, Woburn, MA.
In receiving the award, Jim and his wife Sandy made it very clear that they were accepting this special recognition on behalf of their company as a whole. Julia credits the success of his company to what he calls in his opinion the finest auction crew in North America. “It is a team oriented organization and we all pull together to generate the success that we do.”
Julia is a member of the Waterville, Rotary Club where he was honored with a Paul Harris Fellow a few years back, and he was also selected by the Waterville, Maine Chamber of Commerce in 2003 as the Business Person of the Year.In 2006, Jim Julia was installed in the Maine Auctioneer Association’s “Hall of Fame”. In 1993 he was awarded, by the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, a Certificate of Achievement and some years earlier, he was awarded by the Gowie-Normand House, the title “New England Auctioneer of the Year”. The company regularly travels all over North America and sometimes into Europe for consignments for their upcoming auctions.