James D. Julia Auctioneers extraordinary firearms and knife auction will be taking place on Monday and Tuesday, March 12th & 13th 2012. This auction should prove to be one of the most exciting events in knife history!
Dr. Jim Lucie, of Fruitport, Michigan recently decided to sell his lifelong collection of William Scagel knives. Dr. Lucie is today regarded as the reigning authority on Bill Scagel, his life, and the knives he produced. Dr. Lucie is a noted author of a monumental book on Scagel’s works titled, “Scagel Handmade”. He has also been a passionate collector of Scagel made things for most to his life. Dr. Lucie had the great fortune of meeting, doctoring and becoming a friend of Bill Scagel late in his life. His special relationship gave him a unique insight into this extraordinary man. Scagel was an extremely conservative, crusty and independent individual who lived life on his own terms.
Born in 1875, he lived until 1963 and for the majority of his life he used his unique skills and abilities to manufacture and craft about anything he wished. His focus however was on the production of quality knives. Although the product he produces was a simple utilitarian object he incorporated his unique artistic talent into the production of a true art form. His knives were literally a thing of beauty and he eventually began marketing them through the elite sporting goods store Von Lengerke & Antoine of Chicago. Up until 1929, his exquisite knives were featured in their catalogs and sportsmen from all parts of North America acquired his very special knives. Scagel was the first person to give art form to the American knife in the 20th century. Eventually, Bo Randall began to create artistic knives like those of Scagel’s and today the extraordinary fraternity of blade smiths throughout North America can attribute the origin of this art form to Scagel himself; he was unquestionably the genesis of this much revered and collected art form.
Dr. Lucie’s special relationship and appreciation of Scagel’s works eventually resulted in his amassing what is considered the finest collection of Scagel made products to exist today. His special knowledge and interest in Scagel, eventually led to his definitive book on Scagel products, “Scagel Handmade”. Dr. Lucie was so enthralled by Scagel’s art form that after Scagel’s death, he learned to become a blade smith himself and began producing wonderfully artistic knives in a manner similar to those of Scagel. Dr. Lucie’s knives themselves are highly collectible and he currently has a six-year waiting list for one of his masterpieces.
With the exception of a couple of items he retained for his daughters, his entire collection will be offered in this auction. There are so many great rarities, one of them is the Armond Durham camp ax with stag handle, originally made for Armond Durham. Durham had a number of pieces made, all of which he never used so everything from the Durham collection, including this ax, is essentially in near mint condition. The ax carries a conservative presale estimate of $20,000 – $28,000. Another very rare item is the D-guard fighter knife made for a Marine during WWII. On his first leave home, the marine ordered another five for members of his unit. These were the only D-guard knives ever made by Scagel and this is the only one currently known to have survived. It is estimated at $18,000 – $26,000. Another gem is the mint hunter with Heiser tooled sheath in an original V. L. & A box, the knife and Sheath are virtually new. It carries a presale estimate of $21,000 – $30,000. Another great rarity is a near mint crown stag folder knife. This pocket knife with stag handle this most unusual form is highly desirable and in its special condition, should easily generate $17,500 – $25,000. Another very rare and outstanding example of Scagel’s knives the hunter knife with folder in the handle. This very special form was exceedingly difficult to make and later in life, while corresponding with Bo Randall, he specifically stated that they were extremely difficult to make and that he only made 12 of these. This outstanding example is estimated at $20,000 – $30,000. Another exquisite Scagel knife is what Dr. Lucie refers to as the “Iron Mermaid of the Great Lakes” fish knife. This unique knife, specially crafted for the client who ordered it, is fitted with an antler handle in the form of a fish tail and is estimated at $18,000 – $27,000.
Not only were Scagel’s artistic abilities displayed in the product that he made, but sometimes his personal politics were reflected also. Scagel was never one to be beholden to one for a favor and when one was given he almost always immediately repaid it. One freezing night, while walking home, the local Democratic Party chairman stopped and insisted that he give Scagel a ride to his house. Scagel reluctantly accepted the favor and a few days later presented the Democrat with a small, hand-crafted knife and sheath as a gift. Later, a friend asked Scagel why the knife had an ivory slab on one side and a mottled mother of pearl handle on the opposite side. Scagel replied “Oh, you mean that damn Democrat knife I made? All Democrats are two-faced so I made the knife handle accordingly!” Estimate $4,200 – $6,000.
There are between 70 and 80 Scagel lots in this sale and they will be offered in consecutive order on one day. Absolutely no Scagel items from any other source will be mixed with Dr. Lucie’s collection. Julia’s catalog, considered the finest in the industry, will feature exquisite, full color photos of each lot and a detailed description provided by Dr. Lucie himself. The catalog description will also incorporate a conservative presale estimate. One unique feature about the Julia company is that unlike most auction houses who offer their goods “as is, where is”, Julia’s descriptions carry a 45-day guarantee from the date of the auction against any major discrepancy in the catalog description, thus making absentee bid participation not only easy and convenient but also safe.
In an effort to help make these rare items available for anyone interested, the Julia firm and Dr. Lucie have decided to make available special financing terms for qualified parties. If a client is approved, the terms will allow them to make payments for purchases over a period of time. Under no circumstances will terms be provided to anyone who does not apply before the auction. Customers must apply for and be approved before the auction for these special financing terms.
In addition, participation at the auction is most convenient. Some buyers attend the auction live and bid in person. Others after receiving the catalog may submit absentee bids to be bid competitively at the auction. Still others may make advance arrangements to bid over the telephone as it is being sold. And finally, anyone who has a computer will be able to bid live time during the auction by accessing the Julia catalog through “Artfact”.
This very special auction, featuring this unique collection will certainly prove to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Not only will this be the most significant offering of Scagel knives ever offered, but the condition in general is truly outstanding. Many of the items have never been used.
One of the most difficult parts about preparing the catalog proved to be the estimates. Because of the rarity, the superb condition and in some cases the uniqueness of the items, it is impossible to predict what they might bring. However, the Julia firm and Dr. Lucie have agreed that the estimates should be realistically conservative so that all potential buyers can know that the collection is intended to be completely sold. Julia’s catalog will be available approximately four weeks prior to the auction and should be posted on their website approximately 3 weeks prior to the auction. For more information, contact Julia’s for free, detailed illustrated brochures of the sale (available four weeks prior to the auction) at (207) 453-7125 or visit their website at www.jamesdjulia.com.