Copyright © 2011-2017 John N. Lupia III

William Proctor, first auctioneer known in America that auctioned any sort of coins or medals and they were King of Prussia medals. This occurred on July 24, 1758, New York.

The advertisement of this earliest discovered coin related auction in America is persnickety, i.e., lengthy and tediously filled with minutiae listing the items being put up for auction as well as an elaborate description of the site of the sale. The meticulous description of the location was typical of the period since multiple landmarks and references aided the traveler to reach the intended and targeted destination. It will benefit us to explore this description in order to learn more about the auction site. It was held on July 24, 1758, by William Proctor, at his store at Carden Proctor’s Watchmaker. William Proctor was single living with his older married brother and sister-in-law at the time of the auction. Carden Proctor, William’s brother, married Ann Sarah Mason on December 16, 1752. He was a watchmaker who had moved in May of 1757 from his home also in Hanover Square and this move was published in the newspaper to alert the public for continuance of his business. The advertisement tells us that he moved into the home where Mr. Hugh Gaine lately lived, at the “Sign of the Bible and Crown” in Queen Street, between the fly and meal markets. It was in this home that the Proctors lived and kept their store and conducted this earliest known coin auction.

It was about this time that Masonic medals were first minted in England bringing additional medals to America in the late 1750's on.


John N. Lupia, American Numismatic Auctions To 1875. Vol. 1 : 1738-1758. (20013) : 54-55