Recently retired after 25 years' service as an antiques and fine arts dealer, James L. Kochan specialized in important early Americana, notably that relating to early exploration, military and maritime history of the 18th and early 19th centuries. including painting and drawings, artifacts, manuscripts, rare books and ephemera. His clientele included a distinguished private collectors, museums, and research libraries world-wide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Historic Deerfield, the William L. Clements Library, the Society of the Cincinnati, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, the National Army Museum (London), and The National Museum of the Royal Navy.  He now divides his time between historical research/writing projects and serving as Founding Director and CEO of The Mars & Neptune Trust, a nonprofit dedicated to the study and preservation of the military and naval material culture in early America (1492-1850), especially cultural resources located in the state of Maine. 

Prior to founding the firm in 1998, James Kochan was director of museum collections at Mount Vernon, during which he organized the blockbuster travelling exhibition, George Washington Revealed: Treasures from Mount Vernon.  He spent nearly two decades as a museum director and curator, including eight years as supervisory curator at Morristown National Historical Park). He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards for his curatorial and historical work, including the Anne S. K. Brown Military History Fellowship at Brown University, the Award of Merit from the American Assoc. for State and Local History, a Museum Fellowship from the British Council, and most recently, the Collecting Works on Paper Award from Historic New England.  is a Fellow of the Company of Military Historians. 

Kochan is the author or co-author of eight books, including Insignia of Independence, Soldiers of the American Revolution, Hessian Papers of the American Revolution, and Free Trade & Sailors’ Rights, as well as more than 100 published articles or research reports on various facets of early American history, art, and material culture.  He is considered a leading expert on American and British military and marine artwork and material culture, 1700-1850. In addition to his career in the fine art and antiques trade, he continues to serve as a consultant to various museums and historic sites, in addition to the film/media industry. Past projects have included working as primary historical advisor to A&E Television’s The American Revolution (1994) and other PBS and History Channel documentaries; participating as an expert appraiser for The Antiques Roadshow, and serving as the principal historical consultant and technical advisor for costume, props and set dressing on Peter Weir’s film adaptation of the Patrick O’Brien novels, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.​