Steve Shackleford Blog

Unprecedented Scagel Auction Today and Tomorrow

Monumental, unprecedented, biggest and best—these and other superlatives accompany the auction of Dr. James Lucie’s collection of knives by Blade Magazine Cutlery Hall-Of-Fame© member William Wales Scagel scheduled for today and tomorrow, March 12 and 13.

    James D. Julia Auctioneers, one of the world’s oldest and most respected sellers of high-end guns, knives and other items, will conduct the sale at its state-of-the-art facility in Fairfield, Maine. Absentee bidders will be able to participate online and via telephone.

    Dr. Lucie, 83, who served as Scagel’s personal physician before the granddaddy of modern custom knives died in 1963, amassed almost 80 Scagel knives over 50 years of collecting. Now, he said, it is “time to let go.”

    “Scagels took 40 years of my life,” the ABS journeyman smith observed. “I was into them in my 30s, 40s and 50s. Now it’s time to pass it to others in their 30s, 40s and 50s. I want to get back to making knives, to making Scagels the way they should be made,” adding he has a nice backlog of orders after spending most of the past year or so working on his comprehensive book, Scagel Handmade, a history in word and picture of Scagel and his knives.

    “It will be a monumental sale,” Julia said. “I don’t think anybody’s had 10 Scagels in one auction before. This one has 80 and they are the highest-quality Scagels in existence. It will be the biggest and best Scagel auction ever, and I can’t imagine an auction to match it in the future.”

    The knives will be sold as part of a two-day auction that also will include two important gun collections, Confederate Civil War items and Class III machine guns. All the Scagels in the collection will be sold.

   Dr. Lucie wrote the descriptions for the knives for the “lavish catalog” on which Julia prides himself for all of his company’s auctions. “Normally we use a vast array of consultants and experts in the field but in this case we [could not] get anybody better than Dr. Lucie” to write the descriptions, he noted. Julia guarantees the catalog descriptions for up to 45 days after the auction. “Nobody else does this,” he said. “That way if there’s a serious problem with the knife, you can cancel the sale.”

    For more information on the auction, click on www.jamesdjulia.com.


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