Littleton Coin Company

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Stamps started it all – Littleton Coin Company
Over 70 years of Building Collections via the Mail


Littleton Coin Company. Video footage courtesy of WMUR Chronicle  

Maynard Sundman as a schoolboy
Maynard Sundman
Maynard Sundman
I was absolutely astonished when I saw that collection. Collecting stamps… that was the beginning.”
—Maynard Sundman, reflecting upon seeing his friend’s stamp collection in 1927.

For over 70 years, Littleton Coin Company has brought the excitement of collecting by sending stamps, coins and paper money to customers through the mail. Since 1945, from our Littleton, New Hampshire headquarters, we’ve provided customers with friendly, knowledgeable and dependable service. Today, thanks to the U.S. Postal Service, thousands of collectors across the country have shopped at Littleton Coin to begin collections, add to existing ones or to find unusual items to share with their friends and families. But Littleton’s history of bringing the “coin store to a customer’s door” via packages in the mail, goes back even earlier than that.

It all began in 1927, when rain forced 12-year-old Maynard Sundman and his friend inside. Billy showed him his stamp collection. From then on, Maynard was hooked. Although he received stamps through the mail from businesses far away, he spent hours studying ads offered by various companies. The same year the stock market crashed in 1929, setting off the Great Depression, Maynard turned 14. That year he noticed an ad for a free H.E. Harris stamp catalog and sent away for it. Inside he found an article: The Future of the Stamp Business. He had been selling penny stamps to other student collectors for a few years, and that article fueled the dream of starting his own business.

1935-41 The Maynard Sundman Stamp Company
After graduating from high school in the summer of 1935, he opened the Maynard Sundman Stamp Company with a $400 order he made from H.E. Harris. (Later Harris would serve as his mentor, teaching him key lessons about the mail order business.) Working from a table in his parents’ kitchen in Bristol, CT, he sent stamps on approval through the mail to customers across the country. With stamps on approval, he placed his trust in his customers, believing that if they saw the stamps to “approve” before they paid for them, they would be happier with their purchase in the long run. Maynard’s business blossomed that first year, even during the depression, and he hired four neighbors to help fill orders.

The Army Calls
About a year later, he met his future wife, Fannie Kasper, and they married in April 1941. WWII was in the news and the expected draft letter arrived, which eventually sent him overseas. With that, Maynard put his business on hold while he was away.

Littleton Coin founders Maynard and Fannie Sundman as newlyweds
Littleton Coin founders Maynard and Fannie Sundman as newlyweds
Littleton Coin founders Maynard and
Fannie Sundman as newlyweds.

Although he served with the 5th Army in Italy, he still dreamed about his future business, and asked Fannie to scout for locations in northern New England to reopen it after the war ended. In 1944, she visited towns in New Hampshire, looking for spots to relocate the company and raise a family. Littleton’s friendly people and large post office won her over.

Post Office in downtown Littleton
The stately post office in downtown was one of the reasons the company was located in Littleton. A large post office was needed to handle the volume of mail shipped daily from the company. Mail order was and is Littleton's primary way it connects with its customers.
The stately post office in downtown was one of the reasons the company was located in Littleton. A large post office was needed to handle the volume of mail shipped daily from the company. Mail order was and is Littleton's primary way it connects with its customers.

Maynard and Fannie Sundman prior to Maynard heading overseas during the war years.
Maynard and Fannie Sundman prior to Maynard heading overseas during the war years.
Maynard and Fannie Sundman prior to Maynard heading overseas during the war years.

“Thank you for all you are doing to help me. I am very happy with all the coins I have received.
It is like waiting for Christmas morning every time I get a package from you.”

—A.B.,
St. Augustine, FL

1945 – 1954 Littleton Stamp Company New Beginnings
New beginnings in Littleton, New Hampshire

After receiving an honorable discharge in October 1945, Maynard returned home. Several weeks later the couple journeyed north from Bristol, CT, and in early December, that same year, Littleton Stamp Company opened. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he decided to advertise in non-trade hobby publications – offering 10 free Hitler stamps from Bohemia-Moravia. These bold ad campaigns fueled an increase in business and growth.

1954 Littleton Stamp & Coin is Born
The coin and stamp hobbies were very popular in the ’50s and ’60s, so drawing inspiration from the Tatham Stamp Company, based in Springfield, MA, Maynard decided to send coins on approval through the mail. Littleton’s mail-order business continued to grow, and by 1972, Maynard’s eldest son David joined the company full time. A few years later, Littleton sent out its first direct mail piece.

1974 Mystic Stamp Company is Purchased
In 1974, Maynard decided to purchase Mystic Stamp Company and his youngest son, Don, agreed to oversee operations. By the end of the 1980s, Littleton moved its entire stamp inventory to Mystic. Now Littleton would focus on selling only coins, and when Maynard stepped aside, David became president.

Today under David’s guidance and a talented management team, Littleton Coin is an American success story, serving collectors across the nation through the help of the U.S. Postal Service. Under his leadership, the company’s product line continues to grow and expand. As one of the foremost providers of quality coins, bank notes and collector merchandise, the company continues to bring the excitement of collecting to a wide audience via the mail, making the coin hobby fun and easy.

Timeline

1930: The articles of H. E. Harris, founder of The World's Largest Stamp Firm, inspired Maynard through his high school years. 1935: These are some of the original approval selections and price lists that Maynard sent out to his early customers from 1935-1941.
1930: The articles of H. E. Harris, founder of The World's Largest Stamp Firm, inspired Maynard through his high school years.
1935: These are some of the original approval selections and price lists that Maynard sent out to his early customers from 1935-1941.
1930 and 1935

1945: In October 1945, Maynard, shown earlier with his mom and dad, is discharged from the military. He and Fannie relocate to Littleton, N.H. and on December 3, 1945, Littleton Stamp Company begins.
1945: In October 1945, Maynard, shown earlier with his mom and dad, is discharged from the military. He and Fannie relocate to Littleton, N.H. and on December 3, 1945, Littleton Stamp Company begins.
1945

circa 1954: Bartlett ‘Bart’ McKinney, in charge of operations, was a key figure at Littleton for over 30 years. Customers who spoke with spirited customer service representative Rena Hood (top center) often ended up sending her fan mail.
circa 1954: Bartlett ‘Bart’ McKinney, in charge of operations, was a key figure at Littleton for over 30 years. Customers who spoke with spirited customer service representative Rena Hood (top center) often ended up sending her fan mail.
circa 1954

circa 1960: Ever since copywriter John Gayton launched this unique rewards program in 1954, customers have welcomed 10 Profit Shares for each $1 spent. This mid-1960s photo captures Littleton’s warm camaraderie at the retirement party for Ruth Pearce (seated), one of the first employees.
circa 1960: Ever since copywriter John Gayton launched this unique rewards program in 1954, customers have welcomed 10 Profit Shares for each $1 spent. This mid-1960s photo captures Littleton’s warm camaraderie at the retirement party for Ruth Pearce (seated), one of the first employees.
circa 1960

1978: During the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, this ad caught the interest of everyone who saw it. 1979: Don Sundman, shown here with his mother in 1979, proved to be the right man for the presidency of Mystic Stamp Company.
1978: During the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, this ad caught the interest of everyone who saw it.
1979: Don Sundman, shown here with his mother in 1979, proved to be the right man for the presidency of Mystic Stamp Company.
1978 and 1979

1996: Littleton Coin purchased the Vermont Yankee Hoard. Found under floorboards in an old farm property, it yielded rare merchant 1okens, hundreds of Morgan and Peace silver dollars, and more. Maynard, shown here with son David, remained characteristically modest about the current large scale of his initial two-room operation.
1996: Littleton Coin purchased the Vermont Yankee Hoard. Found under floorboards in an old farm property, it yielded rare merchant 1okens, hundreds of Morgan and Peace silver dollars, and more. Maynard, shown here with son David, remained characteristically modest about the current large scale of his initial two-room operation.
1996 and 2005

Over 320 Littleton Coin Company employees standing in front of the New Hampshire headquarters.
Littleton Coin Company employs over 320 at their New Hampshire headquarters.
Littleton Coin Company employs over 320 at their New Hampshire headquarters.

Littleton coin club materials
Littleton offers a wide variety of coin clubs to make collecting fun and easy.
Littleton offers a wide variety of coin clubs to make collecting fun and easy.

Ad: Free! 212 Stamps!
Ads, like these offered a way to get new customers to collect stamps through the mail.
Ads, like these offered a way to get new customers to collect stamps through the mail.

Littleton Coin Company Showcase publication
Littleton Coin Company offers rare and unusal finds for coin and currency collectors.
Littleton Coin Company offers rare and unusal finds for coin and currency collectors.

Littleton catalog
Littleton Coin is one of the nation's leading suppliers of coins, paper money and collecting supplies.
Littleton Coin is one of the nation's leading suppliers of coins,
paper money and collecting supplies.

Littleton catalog
Today, Littleton sends catalogs nationwide.
Today, Littleton sends catalogs nationwide.

Stamps sheet, circa 1945
Stamps sheets like these circa 1945, were sent through the mail to customers "on approval".
Stamps sheets like these circa 1945, were sent
through the mail to customers "on approval".

Littleton Stamp Company ad
Littleton Stamp Company gained customers by placing ads in popular magazines.
Littleton Stamp Company gained customers by
placing ads in popular magazines.