Copyright 2011-2017 John N. Lupia, III

Fig. 1. David Ulysses Proskey in 1926 at his home in North Caldwell, New Jersey. The Numismatist, October, 1928, page 617

David Ulysses Proskey (1853-1928), was born the eldest of eight children, and first of five sons, on December 12, 1853, son of Sigismond Proskey (1837-1898), a Pollock and prosperous merchant by trade, and his mother born in Glasgow, Scotland of Irish parents, Anna "Jane" Josephine Lynch Proskey (1836-1898), at Wappinger Falls, Duchess County, New York. His father seems to have been educated in classics since he names his son Alexander and David's middle name is Ulysses.

Among the children are Margueritta Alexander Proskey (1855-), Alexander Sigismond Proskey (1858-), Rachel Annie Proskey (1861-1873), Samuel Proskey (1863-), Nathaniel Proskey (1865-1945), Josephine Proskey (1868-), Winfield Scott Proskey (1870-1940). The younger brothers Samuel and W. S. Proskey travelled back and forth to Silver Springs, Florida, managing the Proskey Brothers building, hotels, and mining company interests at that location. When Colonel W. S. Proskey (made Colonel during the Spanish-American War) was in New York he was involved with that office as a Builder and Real Estate broker. In Proskey's obituary published in The Numismatist October, 1928, it is reported that his family numbered seven, most probably due to the death of twelve year-old Rachel in 1873.

David Proskey is a very interesting personality in American numismatic history. Coming from a large family of industrious businessmen he had his hand in several prospects at any given time. His is a story of a young man whose hobby brought him fame and fortune over time. In the beginning he was probably involved in the Proskey Brothers mainly as an investor when his brother Alexander began a lumber business in Paterson, New Jersey, also the site where they lived. The Proskey Brothers soon became a building company, hoteliers, and then real estate brokers making many transactions over the years and a substantial fortune for the family. But, in the beginning David soon spread out to New York with an office selling stamps, coins, minerals, curios, and other antiquities. Keeping his own office he put his younger brother Samuel there after he had graduated from school during the day when he went off to work for John Walter Scott. In the evenings both would travel back home by train. Proskey probably edited Scott's Coin Collector's Journal from his own business office on many occasions but also appears to have had other duties managing the coin and medal department for Scott requiring his presence there. Scott more and more began to be overwhelmed dealing in stamps. Proskey was also well versed in stamps and was a big help to Scott as his business grew. Undoubtedly, the growth of Scott & Company can to some extent be attributed to the hard work of Proskey, which eventually led to Scott selling out to a syndicate controlled by the Calman Brothers and Henry Collin. It was because of the talent and energy of David Proskey capitalized by Scott that John W. Scott was dubbed the octopod by Frossard since he seems to have had his hands in everything working at ferocious speed dominating the markets of coins and stamps. All the while David Proskey built up his own businesses. He became established as a leading dealer in stamps and coins but more and more over time migrated to coins in the later 1890's due to the synergy of Harlan Page Smith, a financier who may have been involved with the Proskeys in their other business ventures as well.

In the 1865 New York State Census, his father is listed as owning a boot and shoe store, and the family was living in a very nice expensive brick house in Castleton, Richmond County.

1. The First Period - 1873-1878.

In 1873, he began selling stamps, coins, minerals and curiosities at the behest of his parents who complained of the enormity of his collection cluttering the house.

Fig. 2. Store Card of David Proskey, 57 Courtland St., New York City counterstamped on a pierced worn out and redated Coronet Type -Matron Head Large Cent to amuse a collector with the wishful date newly engraved of 1799. EX-Presidential Coin & Antique, Token & Medal Auction Sale, No. 26, May 26, 1979, Lot 1629.

Fig. 3. Correspondence from Kansas Stock Yard Bank, postmarked Kansas City, Kansas, April 7, 1875. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

In 1875, He lived at 186 Washington Street, New York. At as Emmanuel Joseph Attinelli tells us that time he printed a small circular selling the Centennial Medal of the 7th Regiment N. G. visit to Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1876, Proskey was located at 194 Washington Street, New York City.

In the April 1878 issue of American Journal of Numismatics, Proskey advertised his own business at 765 Broadway, stating that he was a dealer in "coins, medals, tokens and numismatic works. Masonic, Centennial, Washington, Lincoln, Hayes, and Tilden, a specialty. Rare store cards and political medals. Forty-four page Illustrated Catalogue of United States, foreign and ancient Roman silver coins, sent postpaid for 25 cents."

Fig. 4. Business correspondence to David Proskey at 765 Broadway, New York, registered mail, postmarked July 3, 1878, franked by a very rare strip of five Scott #184, unusual rate of 15 cents. The above letter was mailed two and a half months before Proskey's first coin auction sale held September 14-15, 1876. Ex-Belasco, Siegel, Katz. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. Estimate $400-$500. Write

Proskey was both a dealer and a collector who held several coin auction sales from 1876 to 1887 prior to his numismatic business partnership with Harlan Page Smith. The exact number of auction catalogues made by David Proskey is unclear but he may have produced sixty-five or more under his own name, Scott & Co., Scott Stamp & Coin Co., Ltd, and New York Coin and Stamp Co., as well as for others.

2. Second Period - 1877 - 1885 - John Walter Scott & Scott & Company.

From 1877 to 1885 he worked for John Walter Scott in his firm Scott & Company. In 1877, David Proskey became the new editor of Scott's Coin Collector's Journal, and head of the coin and medal department. Proskey was editor of Scott's Coin Collector's Journal from Volume 2 (1877) to Volume 13 (1888).

In 1879, Proskey was involved in creating the J. W. Scott & Co., 1861 Confederate half dollar restrikes from an original die.

When Scott sold his corporate stock to a syndicate run by the Calman Brothers and Henry Collin in December 1885, they renamed it Scott Stamp & Coin Company, Limited, and kept Proskey as head of the coin and medal department. While at both firms Proskey catalogued both stamps and coins. He decided to leave in 1887 and form an independent company which quickly evolved into a partnership with Harlan Page Smith. Scott Stamp & Coin Company, Limited recruited Lyman Haynes Low to take over the management of the coin and medal department upon Proskey's departure August 31, 1887. Apparently, Low specialized only in coins and after a tenure of ten years went independent as Proskey had done.

From 1879 to 1916 Proskey's expertise on Large Cents were the hallmark among the collectors who attributed their specimens based on Proskey's numbering system that were found among the various coin auction catalogues.

In 1880, he is listed in the U. S. Census as living with his parents and family in Washington Township, Bergen County, New Jersey.

By about 1881, the Proskey Brothers, particularly David and Alexander established themselves in the building materials industry selling pine and cypress shingles with a commercial lumber yard in the business and industrial zone of Paterson, New Jersey on River Street. David probably served mainly as the investor backer of his brother. According to William Nelson (1847-1914), the historian of Paterson, New Jersey, Edward Van Houten, David Proskey's father-in-law, lived at 448 River Street, Paterson, Passaic County, New Jersey. However, Nelson was doing his research between 1897 and 1901 when the book was published. This residence was the Proskeys established residence for thirty years from the 1881 until about 1911, which, if it were a single family dwelling necessitates Edward Van Houten having moved in after his daughter Matye married David in 1884. [1]

In May 1880, Ebenezer Locke Mason, Jr., reported in Mason's Coin Collectors' Herald, Vol. II, No. 1, June (1880) :2a, that he had met Proskey at New York together with Henry Griswold Sampson and John Walter Scott buying coins from each of them during one of his coin buying excursions.

Vituperative poison pen writer, rival to Mark Twain, is our illustrious Édouard Frossard, who, like Mason, but not as friendly and jovial, also wrote an account of Proskey during May 1880 in Numisma, the May 1880 issue, third leaf recto and verso, defending the accuracy of his auction of the silver coinage belonging to George C. Sentz :

“More recently in an article which on its face appears like fair enough criticism, but is really garbled and mendacious, worthy to have originated in the fertile brain of D.P. [i..e., David Proskey], wholesale manufacturer of unique Centennial medals, shirker of auctioneer’s bills, and present confidential clerk of the Great Boaster [i..e., John Walter Scott, whom Frossard also calls the octopod] , the onslaught against competition in the coin business is renewed, this time with the [George C.] Stenz sale as an objective point. In this so-called review, which appears in the Coin Journal for April, there may possibly be one or two grains of truth, but the difficulty is to discover them among the mass of chaff. In justice to ourselves, the compiler of the catalogue and of Mr. Stenz, the owner of the coins sold Feb. 27th and 28th last, we will in as few words as possible, show wherein the so-called review was correct, and wherein it deliberately erred;

1st No. This sale was not the remnant of the Stenz collection. It was composed of the nearly entire cabinet of the Rev. T. Wilkinson, of Berlin, Prussia, and other coins purchased by Mr. Stenz in Germany since his previous sale. Anyone who will take the trouble to compare the two catalogues can easily convince himself of this.

2d. Yes. Here the firm is right. The cabinet was exceedingly rich in time and valuable foreign crowns and thalers. It is probably for this reason that the sale proved such a decided financial success.

3d. No. The pieces did not “in most instances bring about their face value.” The face value of the collection was about $700. The amount realized over $2,300.

4th. No. The 1843 Proof set alone was offered as stated in a Wall Street broker’s window, at $50. It was also, we believe, offered to Scott & Co. at $50 less. Why did they not buy it? The set is certainly, both on account of its beauty and its great rarity, well worth $100. In fact, we will give Scott & Co. $100 for a duplicate set of this or an earlier date. Can they procure one? Scott & Co. should have purchased this. It would have proved a remunerative investment, but the margin of profit between $50 and selling price was probably not considered sufficiently large to induce purchase. That set was bought for $100 by Mr. Geo. W. Cogan on an order of $150 or less. Other bids were made to $95, and there were at least 6 bids of from $75 to $95. Now what would the Great Boaster have done under like circumstances. Pray, let us know.

5th. Yes. Mr. Stenz bought at his sale, much to the apparent chagrin of our distinguished contemporary, whose representative had come fully prepared to pick up rare silver coins in nearly proof condition at about 2-3 [times?] face value. Mr. Stenz represented several buyers just as the G.B. apparently does at his own sales. Finally. We are forced to agree with our esteemed and learned reviewer when he says “The course of proceeding we have related should be discountenanced by all who are interested in collecting coins.” By following himself the rules he is so eager to have others observe, he may possibly, in the course of time, regain the confidence of collectors, and will no longer be obliged to do, at his own sales, that which he unjustly charges Mr. Stenz of having done.”

Frossard's widely known barb at David Proskey describes him "with a level head and India rubber conscience." Frossard was not alone. W. E. Woodward in his 1881 classic, American Numismatic Periodicals, called Proskey "Mr. Scissors".

From 1882-1883 Proskey published a series on Civil War tokens in Scott's Coin Collector's Journal.

By 1884 he was conducting his personal coin business by mail from the office of Proskey Brothers, 448 River Street, Paterson, N. J., manufacturers of yellow pine lumber and Cyprus shingles, and general storekeepers.

In 1884, he published a comprehensive list of all known California private gold in Scott's Coin Collector's Journal.

On January 3, 1884, he married Matye (Machard) "Madge" Van Houten (1852-1934), daughter of [Iddo] Edo "Edward" Van Houten (1813-1893), and Ellen Lake (1819-1881), a noted family of Passaic, New Jersey, of the Dutch Reformed Church at Acquackanonk. They had three sons : David Verus Proskey (1885-1956); Elbert Alexander Proskey (1887-1956); Harold Van Houten Proskey (1889-1970); and a daughter : Elsie Lake Proskey (1893-1960), who later married Charles F. Whadcock.

Fig. 5. Proskey sent this postal card to the Chapman Brother, postmarked Paterson, New Jersey, May 9, 1885. The message reveals a warm friendly working relationship between the two magnate dealers. "Your catalogue duly rec'd & distributed- thanks for the plate cat.--did you get one of the Balmanno "plates"? if not, let me know & I'll send you one. Yours, &c., D. Proskey." This cordiality came to a quick and abrupt end since one year later Proskey's catalogue of May 6-7, 1886, dealing with stamps, Hard Times tokens, ancient Roman coins, and literature, makes a tirade of criticisms against them. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

3. Third Period - 1886 -1887 - The Calman Brothers Syndicate - Scott Stamp & Coin Company, Ltd.

From 1885 to 1887 he published a series on Pattern Pieces based on the work of Robert Coulton Davis in Scott's Coin Collector's Journal.

In 1886, the Proskey Brothers circulated a round brass rimmed cardboard check which they purchased from some unidentified manufacturer. Around the rim printed THIS CHECK IS GOOD FOR/ FIVE CENTS, and second variety reads TWENTY-FIVE CENTS. They handstamped with violet ink a rubber stamp PROSKEY BROS. / MERCHANDISE/ AND SHINGLE MILL/ SILVER SPRINGS, FLA. (See E-Sylum, Vol. 17, No. 4, January 26, 2014, report on ANA Hall of Fame author David Schenkman's article published in The Numismatist)

Fig. 6. The H. F. Haine's Collection of Coins, Medals, Paper Money, Postage and Revenue Stamps, Autographs, Numismatic and Philatelic Literature, Old Papers, Books, Paintings, Curiosities and Indian Stone Relics held on November 22, 1886. Proskey's personal copy. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Fig. 7. March 29 to 30th 1887 he held a non numismatic auction of the remainder of the Haines collection consisting of minerals, shells, bird’s eggs, etc., together with stamps of the late L. M. Hamlen of Augusta, Maine. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

4. Fourth Period - 1887 - 1888 David Proskey, Numismatist

Figs. 8 & 9. David Proskey always was an independent dealer who subcontracted working at Scott & company, and then at Scott Stamp & Coin Company, Limited, which he left at the end of August 1887. Here we see him doing business as usual selling stamps and coins from his home after working hours in New York City. This letter with his corner card David Proskey NUMISMATIST, 448 River Street, Paterson, N.J., sent to W. P. Young, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, franked by an extremely rare bisected Scott #210 tied by a target cancel, postmarked Paterson, New Jersey, March 7, 1887, 8 AM. Back side is an All-Over -Advertisement of Merchant's Gargling Oil Liniment. These envelopes were sold at sixty cents per thousand.[2] Several stamp and coin dealers, like Proskey, purchased them to keep down overhead operating costs. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. A second cover postmarked May 9, 1888 on the same graphic illustrated advertising stationery franked with a strip of two Scott 213.

5. Fifth Period - 1888 - 1901 - Partnership with Harlan Page Smith in New York Coin and Stamp Company.

In the Fall 1887, Proskey was a business partner with Harlan Page Smith in New York Coin & Stamp Company, where Smith served as the financial backer for Proskey to act as the front man buyer and dealer. This afforded Smith the cherry pick the cream of the crop of what came on for his private collection. They employed a clerk at their store, who most probably was David's ten year younger brother Samuel. Smith operated out of New York and Proskey usually from New Jersey, where he lived variously in Little Falls, and also at Patterson, and later in life at North Caldwell. However, they did have an office and coin shop in New York located at 853 Broadway, in the Singer Building, and after the dissolution of the partnership from about 1907 to 1926 at 11 West 30th Street, New York City, New York, and finally from 1926 to 1928, at 912 6th Avenue, which were managed by Proskey.

The 853 Broadway office was also shared by the Proskey Brothers real estate company. The Proskey brothers were also associated with the Allen Brothers, John T. Allen and James G. Allen, in various real estate transactions. Also, the Proskey Brothers about 1891 were located at 371 Fulton Street, Room 129, Arbuckle Building, Brooklyn, New York, managed by Samuel, Nathaniel and Margueritta. Samuel Proskey was one of the real-estate owners of the Spanish-Adams plot of land earmarked for a public park bound by Park and Prospect Places and Kingston and Brooklyn Avenues purchased by this city in April 1892, for $149,000. Samuel Proskey received $45,000 of that sale. The Proskey Brothers also loaned money secured by assets such as stock holdings or land. Throughout the 1890's the Proskey Brothers were very busy in the real estate market, while Samuel was also busy in the coin industry and managed to also serve as the secretary and treasurer of a local Bowling Club at Brooklyn.

Fig. 10. One of the Proskey Brothers hotel advertisements, with Samuel Proskey as manager at Florida in 1900. Florida Star, Friday, February 16, 1900, page 7.

After Proskey's death his son David V. Proskey continued the company with the same name at the Little Falls, New Jersey address running full page ads in The Numismatist in 1929 and seems to have been bought out by F.C.C. Boyd after Black Thursday, October 24, and Tuesday, October 29, 1929. In 1940, David V. Proskey was the proprietor of an antiques business.

Fig. 11. The first known coin auction catalogue of New York Coin and Stamp Company held on January 27, 1888, Collection of Clayton A. Smith. The cover illustration of the Brasher doubloon is misleading since it is not offered in the auction. Lot 658 was of a 500 piece stamp collection in an international stamp album. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Fig. 12. Publicity stunt by Harlan Page Smith and David Proskey to catch the eye and capture the imagination of newspaper readers to spark interest in collecting Roman coins. "A Roman Tribute Money," The News, Tuesday, March 13, 1888, page 4, reprint from the New York World.

Fig. 13. Proskey's Brasher doubloon reported in the New York World, reprinted in Hornellsville Weekly Tribune, Friday, April 27, 1888, page 6.

Fig. 14. David Proskey mailing to John W, Kline, 1528 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, postmarked May 9, 1888, New York, Station D. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

He wrote a series in the Coin Collector’s Journal 1879-1883, later revised in 1887 to 1888 by Francis Worcester Doughty and published as a monograph The Cents of the United States (New York : Scott Stamp and Coin Company, 1890) under Doughty’s name.

Figs. 15 & 16. David Proskey's 1889 Stock Catalogue for N. Y. Coin & Stamp Co. Note the back cover has an advertisement for the Lee Portable Fire Escape designed for hoteliers. The Proskey Brothers used these in their various hotels around the country. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

The first great collection catalogued by Proskey was of the Robert Coulton Davis Collection auctioned from January 20-24, 1890. [Davis 783] This was followed six months later June 25-27, 1890, with that of Lorin Gilbert Parmelee, the Boston Baked Bean Baron. [Davis 784]. A third noteworthy catalogue was produced nearly two years later for the sale of the collection of George Woodside on April 23, 1892. [Davis 785].

Figs. 17 & 18. Proskey correspondence with an uprated Plimpton envelope Thorp-Bartels No. 1420, franked with two Scott # 220, at a 6 cent postage rate for weight to the Chapman Brothers postmarked November 18, 1891, New York, Station D. Note the cinderella, or New York Coin & Stamp Co., dealer label on back flap incorporating the 1792 Half Disme design. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library, Special Collection, The Chapman Family Correspondence Archive.

David Proskey and his brothers company known as the "Proskey Brothers" earlier established in the lumber business now became noted as hoteliers in the newly established summer resort in the 1880's with the Breslin Hotel at Lake Hopatcong, Sussex County, New Jersey. Though known as the "Proskey Brothers" the company also included their sister Margueritta Alexander Proskey. By September 1900 the New York Tribune, Thursday, September 27, on page 8, reported that they expanded their hotel business by leasing the Parker House at Broadway and 39th Street, New York City.

Proskey's name appeared in the March 1892 issue of The Numismatist, in list no. 15, as number 437, residing at 853 Broadway, New York. This is the same address as the New York Coin & Stamp Co., and also of the coin dealer Samuel Proskey, David's ten year younger brother, whose name appears in August 1908 issue of The Numismatist, on page 237.

In 1892, he sold a portion of his stamp collection through Scott Stamp & Coin Company, Limited, Sale No. 113, May 4-5, 1892, David Proskey philatelic collection of U. S. Envelopes, Locals, and Confederate stamps.

Fig. 19. Proskey's catalogue of a Collection of A Distinguished American Amateur, May 27, 1892. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

In the January 1895 issue of The Numismatist, Augustus G. Heaton's Tour Among the Coin Dealers, tells of a visit to the New York Coin and Stamp Company, reporting that on Union Square a large room in the second floor of an imposing building was the office, managed by forty-one year old David Proskey, who was noted as being "still a young man but one of the best numismatic judges of coins in the trade, and very just in valuation." Proskey ran the business, employing his brother Samuel Proskey to assist preparing auction catalogues and in the day-today retail stock of coins, stamps, fractional currency, minerals, curiosities, and other antiquities.

Proskey to the Chapman Brothers, postmarked New York, Station D, December 23, 1893, with cinderella on verso. Very rare. Most of the cinderellas were soaked off and cut down as reprints of the St. Louis provisional.

Figs. 20 & 21. Proskey's circular for New York Coin & Stamp Company printed on U. S. Postal Card sent to John G. Northduft, New Castle, Pennsylvania, postmarked January 24, 1895, New York Station O. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Fig. 22. Solicitation from a friend to view and sell a collection, postmarked April 13, 1896. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

In 1900, he is listed in the U. S. Census as a coin dealer still living at 448 River Street, Paterson, Passaic County, New Jersey, with his wife, three sons and daughter.

In 1900, Colonel W. S. Proskey was sent as commissioner from Florida to the Paris Exhibition.

Fig. 23. Besides stamps and coins Proskey was also a mineral dealer. Specimen of Pectolite from Paterson, N. J. sold by Proskey at his office 853 Broadway, New York, sold to William Jefferis in October 1900. Courtesy Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

6. Sixth Period - 1901 -1928 - Sole Proprietor of New York Coin and Stamp Company.

At the Collector’s Club, 351 Fourth Avenue, New York City, New York. The first public numismatic exhibition held at the Collector’s Club took place on Saturday, January 25th 1902. This exhibit was comprised of collections of five exhibitors : John G. Mills, David U. Proskey, Charles Gregory, Albert R. Frey, and H. G. Mandel. Proskey won first place in the exhibit and Gregory took second place.

Harlan Page Smith died on Sunday, March 2, 1902, just sixteen days short of his sixty-third birthday and ninety-five days after the dissolution of his partnership with David Proskey in New York Coin and Stamp Company.

In mid-April Proskey quickly held a coin sale whose date was not fixed at the time of printing the April 1902 issue of The Numismatist.

In May 1902 a poem was written about Proskey and was published in June issue The Numismatist.

The learned Prosky bent his brows

He Likewise bent his head.

And o’er the rubbing pondered long

And then he went to bed.

For, while I sleep, perchance said he,

Some light perhaps may come to me.

And I perhaps find out its age

And send the date to Jamestown’s sage.

He rose in haste, he rose in glee—

(Before the sun all shadows flee)—

For wisdom’s light had come to him

All radiant in a summer’s dream.

Said he – the answer solve I can—

(This great Expert: this Proskyman)—

This crown. Christina’s crown, must be

A base “Nurnberger”.

Corneliuett Smith brought a lawsuit against David Proskey for losses as administratrix of the estate in 1902. Apparently Proskey kept the four safes filled with coins, medals, accounting ledgers, etc. formerly belonging to the New York Coin and Stamp Company, which were supposed to be given to Smith or his estate. The safes and their contents were estimated to be valued at $15,000. Mrs. Smith sued for that amount plus an additional $1,000 in legal fees. Mrs. Smith won the case. David Proskey appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeals. This lawsuit went back and forth filing motion after motion in a long protracted hearing, which always seemed to skirt the real issue of Mrs. Smith is that she had neither any inventory of the safes, nor way of knowing who owed her husband's company money nor how much, which Proskey had access to the four safes knowing the combinations; and consequently no objective authoritative accounting existed for her peace of mind and was forced to merely take Proskey at his word. Mrs. Smith was keenly aware of the value of rare coins, gold coins, etc., which she knew filled the safes, besides outstanding invoices of buyers who owed the firm money.

Fig. 24. Smack and Nightingale sale held on June 9-10, 1903. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Fig. 25. Henry Abbott, Togus, Maine mailing with an uprated Hartford envelope Thorp-Bartels #1943, franked with a strip of two Scott #305, tied by Togus, Maine cancel, postmarked November 22, 1905, sent to David Proskey at his office 858 Broadway, New York. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

In 1910, he is listed in the U. S. Census as a coin dealer still living at 448 River Street, Paterson, Passaic County, New Jersey, with his wife daughter and brother-in-law Walter Van Houten.

Fig. 26. Proskey's advertisement with new address 8 East 30th Street, New York City, in the January 1914 issue of The Numismatist, page 45. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

In 1914, he was one of the exhibitors at the American Numismatic Society, Exhibition of the United States and Colonial Coins, January 17 to February 18, 1914.

Fig. 28. Proskey collaborated in the auction catalogue of the Mary Anna Palmer Draper Collection sold at American Art Galleries, April 13-14, 1917. Not in Gengerke.

In 1920, he is listed in the U. S. Census as a dealer in stamps and coins living at 61 Mountain Avenue, North Caldwell, New Jersey, with his wife, son David, and daughter Elsie and son-in-law Charles.

He joined the ANA in 1923 and is member no. 2459. He was also a member of the New York Numismatic Club.

George H. Clapp, as reported years later in Penny Wise, called him the most knowledgeable source on large cents he had ever met.

Fig. 27. Proskey's 1926 business card. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Proskey sold his collection to Hines in 1916.

Fig. 29. Photograph of David and Madge Proskey in North Caldwell, New Jersey.

He died on August 16, 1928. His son David Verus Proskey continued the family run business.

Martin Luther Beistle made tribute to Proskey publishing a halftone photograph portrait of him in the classic work A Register of Half Dollar Varieties and Sub-Varieties (1929).

There were eight posthumous coin auction sales liquidating the coin collection of David Proskey that were held by Stack's from Stack's sale No. 24, January 27, 1939 to sale No. 64, March 27, 1943.


[1] Currently a Victorian red brick single family dwelling occupies 446 River Street, Paterson which stands amidst an empty lot on the right, which would have been 448. However, I cannot ascertain if there was a renumbering of the street in the past. If the current address is correct from the 19th century then it seems the Proskey home has been demolished long ago.

[2] Scotts Monthly Stamp Journal, Vol. 21 (1941) : 166

Auctions Catalogued under the name D. Proskey, and assigned to Proskey coin sales of Scott & Co.[Proskey very well may have catalogued some stamp auctions as well]:

NOTE : Samuel Proskey, an unsung hero in numismatic history, may also have collaborated and even have catalogued entire catalogues while working with his brother.

NOTA BENE : Catalogues assigned to Harlan Page Smith might actually belong to David Proskey and/or his brother Samuel.

[01] September 14-15, 1876, 1,232 lots, [Adams, No. 1, C+]

[02] March 4, 1878, 999 lots, A. Redlich [Scott & Company Sale No. 15a]

[03] July 30-31, 1878, 812 lots, L. Saalfelder [Scott & Company Sale No. 17]

[04] October 10, 1878, 459 lots, H. E. Jones [Scott & Company Sale No. 18]

[05] December 9-10, 1878, [Scott & Company Sale No. 19a]

[06] March 3-8, 1879 [Scott & Company Sale No. 22]

[07] March 27, 1879 [Scott & Company Sale No. 23]

[08] September 4, 1879, Hon. Alfred Watkins of London [Scott & Company Sale No. 25]

[09] October 27-28, 1879, Noel Gray of Yokohama [Scott & Company Sale No. 27]

[10] December 15, 1879, [Scott & Company Sale No. 28]

[11] February 10, 1880, [Scott & Company Sale No. 29]

[12] [Scott & Company Sale No. 31]

[13] July 20-22, 1880, Herbert Steinman [Scott & Company Sale No. 33]

[14] December 15-16, 1880, 1,057 lots, T. T. Bates [Scott & Company Sale No. 34]

[15] April 8, 1881, 520 lots, Bankrupt stamp & coin dealer liquidation sale [Scott & Company Sale No. 35]

[16] October 10, 1881, 641 lots, G. Blake [Scott & Company Sale No. 37]

[17] December 19, 1881, 585 lots, Hawaiian [Scott & Company Sale No. 39]

[18] March 13, 1882, 400 lots, John W. Scott (probably collaborated) [Scott & Company Sale No. 40]

[19] March 20, 1882, 600 lots, William P. Brown (probably collaborated) [Scott & Company Sale No. 41]

[20] May 12, 1882, 550 lots, John Acker [Scott & Company Sale No. 44]

[21] June 26, 1882, 463 lots, O. Schmidt [Scott & Company Sale No. 45]

[22] November 27, 1882, 522 lots, Alfred Curtain [Scott & Company Sale No. 47]

[23] April 16, 1883 [Scott & Company Sale No. 49]

[24] May 28, 1883 [Scott & Company Sale No. 50]

[25] December 10, 1883 [Scott & Company Sale No. 55]

[26] March 16, 1885 [Scott & Company Sale No. 66]

[27] December 15, 1885, 528 lots, Confederate paper money, Raphael P. Thian [Adams, No. 2, Adams B] [Durst 274]

Auctions of Scott Stamp & Coin Co., Ltd, by D. Proskey [Scott sale numbers in second set of brackets]:

[28] [70] February 15, 1886, stamps & U. S. Envelopes, E. Shorthouse [Thomas L. Bucken & Co., auctioneers]

[29] [071] March 8, 1886, 502 lots, coins, Charles H. Edeson, Photograph of Brattelboro sheet. [Ortgies & Co. auctioneers]

[30] [072] March 16-17, 1886, 502 lots, Adams C, coins, P. H. Hill [Ortgies & Co. auctioneers] (Adams 27)

[31] [073] April 12-13, 1886, stamps & U. S. Envelopes, 261 lots of Envelopes. First photoplates 1 plate, E. Harrison Sanford [Ortgies & Co. auctioneers]

[32] May 6-7, 1886, 1,083 lots, [Adams, No. 3, B-] [Durst 281]

[33] [074] June 1, 1886, stamps, E. Harrison Sanford [Ortgies & Co. auctioneers]

[34] [075] June 16, 1886, stamps, E. C. Goddard [Ortgies & Co. auctioneers]

[35] November 22, 1886, 733 lots, H. F. Haines [Adams, No. 4, C]

[36] [076] November 29-30, 1886, Match & Medicine, and U. S. Revenue stamps, N. Y. Collector [Ortgies & Co. auctioneers]

[37] [077] December 13, 1886, stamps, Joseph Rechert [Ortgies & Co. auctioneers]

[38] [078] January 24, 1887, stamps, E. Harrison Sanford

[39] [079] February 13, 1887, stamps, James M. Chute

[40] [080] March 7, 1887, stamps, Rev. A. Hoenecke

[41] [25] March 29-30, 1887, 948 lots, stamps, minerals, shells, Haines, Hamlen [Adams, No. 5, C]

[42] [081] May 26, 1887, stamps, Charles J. Phillips, and E. Shorthouse

Auctions of New York Coin & Stamp Co.

[43] January 27, 1888, 658 lots , Clayton A. Smith

[44] January 18, 1889

[45] January 20-24, 1890

[46] June 25-27, 1890

[47] April 14-16, 1891

[48] April 23, 1892

[49] May 27, 1892, Distinguished Amateur

[50] February 13-14, 1893

[51] May 5, 1893

[52] June 2, 1893

[53] December 15, 1893

[54] March 1, 1895

[55] April 27, 1895

[56] April 9-10, 1896 [Adams No. 14, B+]

[57] May 14, 1897

[58] February 28, 1899

[59] June 30, 1899

[60] April 6, 1900

[61] June 9-10, 1903, Smack & Nightingale

[62] November 17, 1903

[63] November 27-28, 1903

[64] April 22-23, 1904

[65] May 26-27, 1908

[66] April 13-14, 1917, (collaborated with Garrett Chatfield Pier) Mary Anna Palmer Draper, American Art Galleries

Bibliography :

Winner, The Coin and Stamp Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2, February (1875) : 8, listed as Daniel Proskey- the same name given in the U.S. Census of 1865

Emmanuel Joseph Attinelli. Numisgraphics (N. Y., Author, 1875) : 99

Mason's Coin Collectors' Herald, Vol. II, No. 1, June (1880) :2a; H-II, No. 2, September (1880) : 14a; H-II, No. 2, September (1880) : 14a-b; M-XIII, No. 1, June (1890) : 4; M-XIII, No. 1, June (1890) : 16

The American Numismatist, Vol. 1, No. 4, January (1887) : 32

The American Numismatist, Vol. 1, No. 5, February (1887) : 39

The Numismatist, Vol. 4, No. 3, March (1892) : 40

The Numismatist, Vol. 8, No. 1, January (1895) : 8

1900 U. S. Census

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 7, 1901, page 39, note on Margueritta (spelled Margaretta) Alexander Proskey of Brooklyn

William Nelson, History of the city of Paterson and the County of Passaic, New Jersey (1901) : 259-260 Edward Van Houten; 263 on Matye & David Proskey

The Numismatist, Vol. XV, No. 3, March (1902): 80-84; No. 4, April (1902) : 115; No. 6, June (1902) : 185

Gnecchi, Ercole and Francesco, eds., Guida Numismatica 4th edition. (Milano : U. Hoepli, 1903. Edition) : 556, No. 5769

“Early Gold Proofs,” The Numismatist, Vol. XXII, No. 5, May (1909) : 141 obit

Philatelic West, Vol. 53, No. 3, October (1911) : 8 one inch display ad

1920 U. S. Census

ANA Membership List and Directory (1927) : 56

Boston Transcript, August 16, 1928, obit

The Numismatist, Vol. 41 (1928) : 616

Penny Wise, Vol. XIII () : 241, George H. Clapp on Proskey

Lorraine S. Durst, United States Numismatic Auction Catalogs, 13

John Weston Adams, United States Numismatic Literature, Vol. 1 : 55-57, 58, 59, 68, 119, 143-146, 178, 241, 242

Bourne, Remy, Fixed Price Lists & Premium Paid For Lists of United States Coin Dealers 1822-1900 (Minneapolis, 1988)

Rulau, Russell, Standard Catalog of United States Tokens 1700-1900 (Iola, 1994)

Pete Smith, American Numismatic Biographies, 189

Pete Smith, “American Numismatic Pioneers : An Index to Sources,” Asylum Vol. XXII, No. 3, Consecutive Issue No. 87, Summer (2004) : 305