DENVER, Pa. – Dan Morphy, founder and president of Morphy Auctions, has announced the appointment of David A. Cruz to the full-time position of firearms specialist. A 20-year executive with the US branch of Holland & Holland, Britain’s premier manufacturer of handmade sporting rifles and shotguns, Cruz brings a formidable knowledge of European guns and high level of client-service experience to Morphy’s firearms team.
“As he developed his hands-on expertise of custom-made sporting firearms at Holland & Holland, Dave also applied the people skills he had learned in the upscale retail clothing business. He knew the value of building relationships based on trust. His business style and attention to detail worked well with Holland & Holland’s clientele, and they’re going to work extremely well at Morphy’s,” Dan Morphy said.
Holland & Holland is a highly regarded gun manufacturer and clothing retailer that was founded in London 1835. They hold two prestigious Royal Warrants – one by appointment to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, and the other by appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales. “It speaks volumes that Holland & Holland hired Dave as operations manager and that he thrived there for twenty years,” Morphy said.
A New York City native whose love of the outdoors began when he was just a boy, Cruz learned to fire a .22-caliber rifle while earning badges as a Cub and Boy Scout, and during camping trips with family and friends. “Those were some of my best boyhood memories, and it’s how I developed confidence with firearms. I wanted to be an outdoorsman and hunter. As I got older, my fascination for outdoor life only increased. I loved going fishing with my friends in Roscoe, New York, which is known as Trout Town USA.”
In his twenties, Cruz went to work in retail fashion representing premier designers that included Prada, Hilfiger, Armani, Zegna, and the company whose goods struck a special chord with him: Ralph Lauren. “I loved working there because, like their sportswear lines, the atmosphere there gave me a feeling of country life,” Cruz said. “I worked with the creative teams that produced the window displays and showrooms for the press. Some replicated Old West saloons or Western settings, which fit in with Ralph Lauren’s country lines. Many of Ralph Lauren’s clothing patterns were inspired by British gun firms that specialized in hunting and shooting, including Holland & Holland.”
That connection was what led to Cruz’s many visits to Holland & Holland’s famous Manhattan gun room, which was near Ralph Lauren’s headquarters. “I’d study the guns and how they operated. At the same time, I got to know many of the executives there and became friendly with them.”
Following his employment with Ralph Lauren, Cruz went to work for Holland & Holland and remained there until an economic downturn led to company-wide layoffs. He then accepted a position with the Swiss luxury goods company Bally, however that didn’t last for long. “One day I went up to Holland & Holland’s gunroom on my lunch break. The gunroom manager was still working there and took me into the boardroom, where five executives were meeting. He said, ‘Remember Dave? He’s our new US operations manager.’ That’s how quickly it happened, and that’s how a 20-year career with Holland & Holland started,” Cruz said.
Working for Holland & Holland was “the best training ground imaginable, not just for learning about Holland and Holland guns, but other British and European makes as well,” Cruz said. “If a customer came in and wanted to trade up to a Holland, they might bring in a Purdey or other brand. Together with their on-premises gunsmith, I was able to examine lots of different types of guns. To me, the best part of it all was being able to interact with people.”
When Holland & Holland relocated its US operations to Texas in 2017, Cruz was offered the opportunity to move with them. Reluctantly, Cruz declined because of family obligations. Instead, he and a colleague, Robert Pearson, accepted their severance and opened a retail gun shop in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Two years ago, Cruz met Dan Morphy at a convention in Dallas and was invited to do some freelance gun-cataloging work for Morphy Auctions. The association worked out very well, and in 2020 conversations ensued about the possibility of Cruz’s joining the Morphy organization full-time. It finally came to fruition on January 5.
As part of Morphy’s firearms team, Dave Cruz will represent the company at firearms shows, liaise with potential consignors, and create catalog descriptions for high-end sporting firearms.
“I’m happy and excited for the future, both for Morphy’s and myself. I think I can be an asset when it comes to evaluating sporting guns and helping out with clients. My past experience was geared toward the consumer, both on the selling or buying end. I like paying attention to customers’ needs and place a high value on building relationships and making sure everyone involved in a transaction is happy.”
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