Just announced: Big change in world of gun auctions…

In a Stunning Move, Morphy Auctions Merges with James D. Julia, Inc.
In a Stunning Move, Morphy Auctions Merges with James D. Julia, Inc.

An era has ended. This just in from Julia’s:

Morphy Auctions has Merged with James D. Julia to be International Leader in Multiple Collecting Categories

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. Morphy Auctions realized annual sales of $35 million dollars within the last year. Within this same time, Julia’s generated $43 million dollars in annual sales; for a combined gross of $78 million dollars. With this combined total of annual sales, Morphy Auctions is the one of the largest antique auction houses in North America.

Morphy Auctions has experienced tremendous growth over the years. The combination of the highly experienced and much acclaimed Julia team together with the outstanding auction team that Morphy has already formed, will make Morphy Auctions the ultimate place to go for rare firearms and important lamp & glass; as well as, toys, dolls, advertising, coin-op, automobilia and petroliana, and all forms of decorative arts.

Dan Morphy, Founder and President of Morphy Auction Company stated, “I have literally spent all my life watching and learning from Jim. With nearly 50 years in the industry, Jim has an undisputed reputation and I admire and will emulate his business approach towards his clients and employees. It is an honor and privilege to have this new association with someone I have considered to be a mentor and leader in the industry.

Over the years, Jim Julia crafted an extraordinary team and unique auction company as a result of his philosophy, business acumen and direct, honest approach with his clients whether they be buyers or sellers. I have always tried to incorporate the same approach. In merging with Julia’s extraordinary team, 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 I want to expand the philosophy of our business to include much of what created extraordinary success for Jim.”

Jim Julia, Founder and President of James D. Julia Inc., 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 years old this past year), would continue to auction well into my 80’s, provided my health allowed it. The limitation in my mind had always been my personal health. But in November of 2016, my wife 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 my wife, Sandy. From November of 2016 until today, my auction company never skipped a beat and has been extremely successful under the leadership of my good friend and CEO, Mark Ford, who continued to lead, improve and expand our company.

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 3 things that were incredibly important to me; first, of course, was what was in the best interest of me and my wife, secondly, my obligation to my incredibly loyal and dedicated team of employees, and thirdly, wanting to do what would best serve all of the wonderful consignors and buyers that 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.

I have always admired Dan, his youth, his energy, his tremendous drive and his 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 and this was very clear and obvious during our negotiations about the melding of the two companies.”

Julia’s currently has scheduled a Fine Art, Asian & Antiques auction in February of 2018 and our spring Extraordinary Firearms Auction which will take place in March. To facilitate a seamless transition, the Julia team will manage and conduct both sales in Fairfield, Maine, as we have in the past. Morphy’s will hold all future auctions and accept consignments in their Pennsylvania and Nevada locations.

Sleeper Alert: 12 gauge Otto Seelig O/U at Rock Island…

12 gauge Otto Seelig Over Under Shotgun
12 gauge Otto Seelig Over Under Shotgun

There are sleepers in every gun auction.  Smart buyers sit through sales and wait for them. When they comes up and the bids don’t appear, the smart buyers pounce in and get a great deal.

12 gauge Otto Seelig Over Under Shotgun
12 gauge Otto Seelig Over Under Shotgun

At Rock Island’s upcoming sale, I’m sure a few smart buyers will have their eyes on this Otto Seelig 12 gauge Over & Under. It’s definitely a sleeper, and I think it could end up being a great deal.

Otto Seelig was based in Weisbaden (a  city in southwest Germany) at the end of the 19th century and up to around World War II. He is recorded as being gun dealer and gun supplier and clients included the Danish Royal Court. He probably had his guns made by other German craftsman and then sold them to customers throughout Europe.

12 gauge Otto Seelig Over Under Shotgun
12 gauge Otto Seelig Over Under Shotgun

Today, shotguns, rifles, and drillings bearing his name pop up from time to time and they very from well built, workmanlike pieces to beautifully crafted, exhibition grade firearms.

The over-and-under shotgun you see here must of been one of the finest doubles he sold. This double was “made” by his firm around World War I –maybe a bit before or just after. The Germans like their shotguns to be stout and this Seelig is very Teutonic – thick horn triggerguard, full pistol grip, the Kersten locking system. A ton of time and skill went into making it, too.

The “Made in Germany” engraving on the side of the rib and the 30″ bbls are a good signs that it was made for the US market. It was probably brought into this country by a top American gunshop like Von Lengerke & Detmold, Abercrombie & Fitch, or Sloan’s Sporting Goods.

When new, this Seelig must have been very expensive. In the 1950s it was bought used from Abercrombie & Fitch for $600. At that time, a new Winchester M21 in the “Deluxe” model cost $419 and a Webley & Scott M700 was $295. Most new cars cost around $1500.

Today, German doubles are extremely under appreciated–especially ones with all the Teutonic bells and whistles like this Seelig. Even though this over-and-under is on par with the finest shotguns ever made in America (and probably superior), most people fail to recognize the quality and skill that went into making it. If you do, put in a bid. You just may come away with a steal.

12 gauge Otto Seelig Over Under Shotgun
12 gauge Otto Seelig Over Under Shotgun

Here’s more about the gun from Rock Island’s online catalog:

Description: This is a nice example of a relief engraved and gold inlaid Otto Seelig shotgun. The shotgun features double red bead sights on the matte solid rib marked “OTTO SEELIG, WIESBADEN” in a panel near the breech and “MADE IN GERMANY” on the left side of the rib. 2 3/4 inch chambers, chokes gauge at full/extra full, (an attached Abercrombie & Fitch tag lists the chokes at strong modified/full), with ejectors.

The left rear of the upper barrel is nitro proofed and the side feature relief floral vine engraving. The scalloped box lock action, break lever and forearm latch assembly are engraved with a relief floral vine design with twenty gold inlaid game birds and a fox on the sides and bottom. Double cross bolt, cocking indicators, tang mounted automatic safety, double triggers with hinged front trigger and horn trigger guard.

Blue barrels and casehardened remaining parts, and mounted with a nicely figured, checkered walnut two piece forearm and pistol grip stock with relief engraved grip cap, checkered flats, cheek piece, leather covered English recoil pad and gold initial oval inscribed “P”. Length of pull is 14 3/4 inches, drop at the heel 2 3/8 inches and drop at the comb 1 3/8 inches.

Condition: Excellent. The barrels retain 95% original blue finish with some thinning to a smooth plum on each side of the lower barrel at the muzzle. There are some flashes of the original case colors on the top of the engraving, otherwise the action has a dark brown appearance. The wood is also excellent with some overall scattered minor dings and handling marks. The engraving is sharp. Mechanically excellent.