Published: December 20, 2017
DENVER, PENN. — Morphy Auctions and James D. Julia, Inc, have merged their businesses, effective December 14. The Julia firm, based in Fairfield, Maine, will be folded into Morphy Auctions, which has showrooms in Denver, Penn., and Las Vegas, Nev.
During the transition, Julia founder and president Jim Julia will serve as a consultant to the new Morphy team. James D. Julia, Inc, will manage and conduct two finals sales in Fairfield, its fine arts, Asian and antiques auction on February 7–9 and its spring firearms auction on March 21–22.
In a statement released by Morphy Auctions, the firms said they “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 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.”
Morphy Auctions realized annual sales of $35 million over the last year. Julia’s generated $43 million in the same period. With a combined gross of $78 million, the two business are poised to become one of the largest auctioneers of antiques in North America.
Jim Julia has been involved in the auction business for nearly 50 years. He began as a small country auctioneer in Maine, but grew the company to international prominence in three divisions: Rare Firearms; Lamps, Glass & Fine Jewelry; and Fine Arts, Asian & Antiques. In 2015, Morphy Auctions acquired Julia’s Advertising, Toy & Doll division.
Morphy Auctions has been in business since 2004 and has grown from two to more than 65 employees in the span of a decade. Company founder and president Dan Morphy said, “I have literally spent all my life watching and learning from Jim. Jim has an undisputed reputation. I admire and will emulate his business approach toward his clients and employees. It is an honor and privilege to have this new association with someone I have considered a mentor and industry leader. I intend to make the transition as seamless as possible. The bottom line is that I not only want to merge Jim Julia’s company and his people, but also expand the philosophy of our business to include much of what created extraordinary success for Jim.”
Julia shared, “I had never considered not being in the auction business and I have, for many years, contended that I, like my father — who passed away at nearly 90 this past year — would continue to auction well into my eighties, provided my health allowed it. But in November 2016 my wife, Sandy, received a devastating diagnosis of incurable brain cancer. I immediately realized that as much as I loved the people, the antiques and the excitement of the auction, there was nothing more important in this world to me than my wife, and I elected to devote my time to Sandy. From November 2016 until today, my auction company never skipped a beat and has been extremely successful under the leadership of my good friend and James D. Julia, Inc, CEO Mark Ford, who continued to lead, improve and expand our company.”
Julia revealed, “A short while ago, Dan Morphy called to speak with me and asked if I would consider selling the company or doing some sort of joint venture. I explained to him that there were three things that were incredibly important to me. First, of course, was what was in the best interest of me and my wife. Second, my obligation to my incredibly loyal and dedicated team of employees. Third, wanting to do what would best serve all the wonderful consignors and buyers the company had developed over the years. The ensuing conversations with Dan and, ultimately, the deal we were able to put together allowed me to cover all three of these factors.”
Julia said he has longed admired his friend and sometime rival’s youth, energy, drive and success. “I knew and did business with Dan before he became an auctioneer and watched him as he entered the auction business and the subsequent dramatic growth he experienced. Dan is a superb leader. This was very clear and obvious during our negotiations about the melding of the two companies.”
Julia concluded, “In transitioning my company to Morphy’s, I will miss the wonderful friends I have developed with consignors and buyers throughout my auctions. I will miss the incredible camaraderie of my auction team and the thrilling and exciting experience of the actual auction. Most important, I will miss the satisfaction I received from a job well done. I must also say, selling my company to Dan is a great relief. It now has removed all my responsibilities regarding auctions and overseeing the management of a valued team. Now Sandy and I can focus completely on each other.”
Anyone attending the January 19–21 Las Vegas Arms Show is invited to stop by the booths and meet the Morphy and Julia firearms team.
Morphy will host all future auctions and accept consignments in its Pennsylvania and Nevada locations. A full-service auction house, Morphy’s conducts 35 premier auctions annually and is recognized in the areas of advertising, firearms, fine automobiles, automobilia, petroliana, coin-operated machines, antiques and decorative arts, dolls, bears, toys and trains, cast iron toys, marbles, jewelry and wrist watches.
Morphy Auctions is at 2000 North Reading Road in Denver, Penn. For further information, www.morphyauctions.com or 877-986-888.
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