Thanks to my son, Billy, for encouraging me to start a blog. I hope to make it interesting with some behind-the-scenes information, not generally available.
James D. Julia, Inc. held their bi-annual Glass and Lamps auction this past Friday and Saturday in Fairfield, Maine. They had the largest in-house crowd they’ve had in years for this type of auction. It was a 7 hour drive to get there. I’m not a kid any more, so that part was not fun, but New England is a beautiful part of the country, so that’s certainly a plus. The weather in the northeast has been pretty rotten this spring with lots of clouds and rain and this weekend was no exception.
Auctions have changed a lot in the 30+ years that I’ve attended. They used to be more diverse and frankly, entertaining. Communication was much more difficult then, so people came from far and wide to view the objects in person and have an evening’s entertainment. Saturday night was a big night for auctions because of the entertainment value. Today with the Internet, email, and all manner of electronic communication, it’s not necessary to go in person. You can get sufficient information, all electronically, to make intelligent decisions to bid at an auction. So it was surprising and nice to see a good crowd. Some people came from quite a distance, with one couple from Seattle and two gentlemen from Israel. Julia’s really encourages buyers to come in person, so they offer free food and drink (not alcohol) and $100 toward meals and hotels if the buyer spends more than $5000. I don’t know of other auction houses that go to such lengths. They’re smart to do it.
Dudley Browne is the expert in charge of the Lamps and Glass division. He was hoping the sale would realize $1.5 million before seller’s premium, but the sale realized a bit over $1.7 million, so he and Jim Julia were pleased. Dudley advised me that today, Monday, was a busy day with offers coming in for many of the items that didn’t sell. Ultimately that will raise the total sales for the auction.
More tomorrow on the specifics of the auction.