Source : Freemans
|Samuel T. Freeman Co.
| On November 26, 1805, Tristram Bamfylde Freeman established his auction house in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A fairly recent immigrant, having arrived from London at the age of 32 ten years earlier, Freeman specialized in selling wholesale goods that had arrived on the docks. Operating under the name T.M. Freeman, he soon expanded to real estate auctions as well.
By the later days of the 19th century, the auction business of Freeman's covered a wider range of goods. At that time, the name was changed to its current official moniker, Samuel T. Freeman & Co., though it often goes simply by the name "Freeman's." Today, Freeman's handles numerous categories, including art, furniture, books, prints, rugs, and jewelry. They produce around 30 auctions per year, including 3 put on by its Department of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Ephemera.
In 2005, Freeman's celebrated their 200th anniversary with an official proclamation from the city. It is believed to be America's oldest auction house, and amazingly enough, it is still run by Freemans, the family now in its seventh generation. It is considered a major regional auction house, and its location in Philadelphia assures a regular flow of important Americana. The firm has sold such items as an original (Dunlap) printing of the Declaration of Independence and the first public printing of the U.S. Constitution as it appeared in the Pennsylvania Packet.
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