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David Proskey

David Sigmund (a.k.a. David Ulysses) Proskey, a famous New York stamp and coin dealer and mineral dealer on the side, was born in Wappingers Falls, New York on December 12, 1853, the son of Anna Jane Lynch (an immigrant from Scotland) and Sigismund Proskey (a polish immigrant). He married Machard "Madge" N. van Houten in 1884. Together they had four children (David, Albert, Harold and Elsie). They lived in Paterson, New Jersey from before 1880 to after 1910, moving to North Caldwell, New Jersey by 1920.

Proskey began his career as a coin dealer in 1873, and conducted five auction sales from 1876 to 1887, based on catalogs he prepared for J. W. Scott and Company from 1877 to 1886. In April 1878, Proskey (while still doing work for J. W. Scott) 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." (American Journal of Numismatics, April 1878.)

Proskey had a role in creating an 1861 Confederate half dollar restrike in 1879 using an original die to create 500 examples (which today are worth around $7000 each).

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

Around 1887 Prosky left the employ of J. W. Scott and joined with Harlan P. Smith to form the New York Coin and Stamp Company. Smith was the financial backer and Proskey the cataloger and general proprietor. In the January 1895 issue of The Numismatist, Augustus G. Heaton told of a visit to the New York Coin and Stamp Company, noting that on Union Square a large room in the second floor of an imposing building was the office, managed by 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 operated the business, employing a clerk or two to prepare auction catalogs and to handle a large retail stock of coins and stamps as well as minerals, curiosities, and other artifacts.

The partnership was dissolved in November 1901, and Smith died in 1902. Proskey then restarted the business on his own, serving as sole owner and president. After having been located at 853 Broadway for 22 years (since 1889) he moved the business to 8 East 30th Street in 1911.

After Proskey himself died on December 15, 1928, his son, David Verus Proskey, continued the business. By 1940 he had converted the business to an "antique store," both he and his wife Ethel serving as proprietors. They eventually relocated their shop to Morristown, New Jersey, selling "antiques, curios, silver, jewelry, furniture and glass."

David Proskey also collected minerals, and donated specimens to the Paterson Museum in New Jersey. His fabulous coin collection was auctioned posthumously in several parts by Stacks, beginning in January 1939 and continuing periodically until 1944.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - David Proskey David Proskey (photo courtesy of his great-grandson, Edward L. Proskey)
The Mineralogical Record - David Proskey 29 x 73 mm (courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History), label for a specimen purchased by William Jefferis in October 1900.
The Mineralogical Record - David Proskey 1914 ad in The Numismatist
The Mineralogical Record - David Proskey Clever "calling card" stamped into a worn out large cent
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