Bits & Pieces... by David Sundman

Celebrating the life of Maynard Sundman

[photo: David and Maynard Sundman in front of a plaque on Littleton's Opera Block]

Dad and I in front of a plaque on Littleton’s Opera Block commemorating the site where
our company began

My father, Maynard Sundman, who founded Littleton Coin Company with my mother, Fannie, more than 60 years ago, passed away on October 31, 2007, at the age of 92. First dealing in stamps, and later in coins, Dad leaves an enduring legacy in the collecting community for introducing many thousands of new coin and stamp enthusiasts to the hobby. On a personal basis, he is lovingly remembered by his family, friends and employees for his kindness, consideration and generosity.

A memorial service in celebration of his life was held on November 10, 2007, at Littleton’s First Congregational Church, led by Pastor Edward E. Lopeman and attended by a large gathering of my father’s friends, neighbors and family – including Dad’s second wife Dorothy and her children. I was honored, along with my brothers Rick and Don, as well as other family members and friends, to say a few words about this man who set a wonderful example as a father, neighbor and employer.

The importance of trust in my father’s life was noted in remembrances. Dad earned immediate and complete trust from his first stamp supplier and backer, the late H. E. Harris of Boston, and was given carte blanche access to the Harris inventory with an unlimited line of credit. Mr. Harris’s trust was soon rewarded, and before long he saluted my father’s enterprise for “the greatest rate of growth in the history of the stamp business.” Dad also believed in surrounding himself with capable people and trusting them to do the right things for the company. Of course, he also trusted his customers, sending out hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stamps and coins “on approval” to collectors nationwide, so they could select the items they wanted to purchase in the comfort of their homes.

[photo: David and Maynard Sundman in front of a plaque on Littleton's Opera Block]

A mid-1950s photo of my father at his desk in the Opera Block office

My father was always reading and learning, and he loved passing on to others what he recently had learned or discovered. Innovation was a major key to his success, and he was never reluctant to try new approaches and new ways to serve collectors. His dedication to personalized service was legendary. Our good friend Q. David Bowers, co-chairman of the prominent New York coin dealer Stack’s, commended Dad’s dedication to his customers – noting that it’s one thing to be successful in business, but quite another to be successful in the competitive collecting trade.

My father was successful, but he lived modestly, and he viewed “success” as simply having the means to care for family and to help others. His quiet generosity to a great many community projects and charitable causes has been mentioned frequently in recent accounts of his life.

Dad loved the collecting hobby and the business, and never considered coming to the office to be a day of work. It was simply doing what he loved to do, and he never stopped working at the office and from his home. My family and staff will miss my father greatly, but his life and accomplishments will always be an inspiration to us.