Littleton Coin Company History
The Littleton Coin Company Story
Littleton's founders, Maynard
and Fannie Sundman in 1941
Celebrating over 70 Years of Friendly Service to Collectors
Littleton Coin Company was founded by Maynard Sundman, who turned his enthusiasm for collecting into one of the largest collectibles firms in the country.
Born October 17, 1915, Maynard grew up in Bristol, Connecticut, where a childhood surprise determined the course of his future. In 1927, a friend showed 12-year-old Maynard his stamp collection, after rain had forced the boys inside. From then on, young Sundman was hooked on collecting and began to dream of doing what he loved as his life's work.
After graduating from Bristol High School in 1935, Maynard announced that he was ready to launch his own stamp business using $400 in savings. With the unconditional support of his parents, Fred and Rae, the Maynard Sundman Stamp Company began operating from the family table.
By 1939, the company had gained four employees and the attention of Bostonian H.E. Harris, owner and founder of what was then the world's largest stamp company. This budding friendship between Maynard and Harris was pivotal, as the older professional served as a mentor, teaching young Sundman key lessons about the mail order business. He also extended a line of credit that showed supreme confidence in Maynard's future.
By April 1941, Maynard had another trusted advisor, his bride, Fannie Kasper. His dream became hers. Six months later, the U.S. Army called Maynard for active duty. He spent two years stateside and two more in Africa and Italy. While her husband was away at war, the resourceful Fannie worked full time as a dress buyer and saved their collective salaries for the future business they were planning. By 1944, the fund had grown to $4,000.
Resuming the business
Sergeant Maynard Sundman returned to the states in 1945 bearing the Bronze Star and the Good Conduct Medal. Less than two weeks later, the Sundmans traveled to Littleton, New Hampshire to find office space and a place to live. For $50 a month, the Littleton Stamp Company rented two second-story rooms in Tilton's Opera Block. Maynard and Fannie rented a one-room "apartment," in which they were, as Maynard recalled, "pretty well restricted to a bed and a sink."
By the end of five years, 36 employees had joined the original four. Harris, once called the "boy wonder" of the stamp world, marveled that a small firm in northern New Hampshire was achieving "the fastest rate of growth in the history of the stamp business."
Littleton, New Hampshire, home of Littleton Coin Company
In the late 1940s, Maynard tried a revolutionary advertising approach. Other coin companies had not believed it was feasible to advertise nationally outside of trade magazines. Maynard proved them wrong. His ads running in comic books, Sunday newspaper supplements and general interest magazines offered a free set of 10 Bohemia-Moravia stamps featuring the 20th century's arch villain, Adolph Hitler. The ad campaign generated orders from all over the country. Limiting each customer to one set, the tiny North Country business shipped out over half a million sets – exhausting the world's supply! This innovative approach dramatically increased Littleton's customer base – allowing the firm to broaden its U.S. line.
By 1954, the company's name had been changed to Littleton Stamp & Coin. Its 60 employees overflowed the third story of the Opera Building into three more offices in the Jax Jr. Theater building across the street. The Sundman family also had increased by three – sons David, born in 1948, Rick, two years later, and Don, who arrived in 1954. From early childhood, they shared their father's fascination for stamp and coin collecting.
A 1964 move to the Kelly Building consolidated 70 employees and all operations in one building. But, only eight years later – its 25th anniversary – the company was planning its relocation to a new 19,000-square-foot headquarters at 646 Union Street. The annual payroll was approaching half a million dollars. Some of the firm's 90 employees had been on that payroll more than 20 years. Another 35 had worked there more than a decade. All were busy processing and shipping out orders at a rate of 25 mailbags each day. Maynard finally located a highly-regarded foreign coin supplier with sufficient inventory to allow Littleton to sell quality foreign coins on a larger scale. He and Max Yas of Montreal transacted millions of dollars of business from 1960 to 1985.
Growth and expansion
In 1974, the Sundman family purchased the Mystic Stamp Company in Camden, New York, and Maynard and Fannie's youngest son, Don, took the reins of the newly acquired firm. The Littleton operation later became devoted exclusively to coins and paper money. The Sundmans' oldest son, David, became president of Littleton Coin Company in 1985, and the company continued to expand its coin selections and collector services.
Our 85,000 square foot headquarters
In 1999, Littleton Coin moved into its new 65,000-square-foot headquarters. In 2005, ground was broken to expand the facility by 20,000 square feet. A modern design utilizing natural light, it is the largest structure in North America dedicated solely to coin and paper money collecting. Increasing numbers of U.S. and foreign visitors are enjoying company tours.
Today, the company is one of America's largest coin retailers, offering a wide selection of U.S. and world coins and paper money through a variety of mail-order services to all 50 states and beyond.
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On January 3, 2017, Littleton Coin Company became employee owned. During a special company meeting, David Sundman announced he and his family had sold the business to employees, creating an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan). This made Littleton Coin 100% employee owned, rewarding workers and positioning the company for the future.