Mystic Stamp Company’s Story
Nationally recognized as a philatelic leader, Mystic Stamp Company is well known for its expertise, superior customer service, and for its involvement in the most noteworthy events in modern postal history. For over 85 years, Mystic has achieved a spotless reputation for honesty, high-standards, and stamp expertise. And Mystic is acknowledged as an industry pioneer for the extensive training we provide our colleagues. We have the highest grading standards in the business and every stamp, cover, coin, and supply ordered from our vast inventory is backed by our 90-day money-back guarantee.
|From 1949 to 1989, Mystic was headquartered in this historic building on Main Street.|
|In 1923, Mystic was founded in Camden’s former Post Office building.|
The story of Mystic Stamp Company began in 1923 when Lawrence K. Shaver purchased starter stock from Mekeel’s Weekly Stamp News. He rented a room in Camden, New York’s post office building and named his company Mystic, after the Mystic River in Boston, Massachusetts. Over the next few years, his company grew from a single employee in one room to nearly 100 workers on three floors.
Maynard and Donald Sundman
Over 300 miles away, in Littleton, New Hampshire, long-time stamp collector Maynard Sundman started the Littleton Stamp Company with his wife Fannie in 1945. Sundman first began selling stamps to his grade school classmates. Like Mystic, Littleton Stamp Company began in a single room office with a handful of employees. What set Sundman’s business apart from his competitors was his advertisements in newspapers and magazines, introducing stamp collecting to a larger audience. Sundman also offered his customers their stamps “on approval” – allowing them to examine the stamps in the comfort of their own home before paying for them.
In 1974, Maynard purchased Mystic Stamp Company from his long-time friend Shaver and recruited his son, Don, to serve as the new company President. Upon taking over the business, Don recognized that the company didn’t have enough stamps, or the right stamps, and began restructuring the company in a way that would provide the best products and service to its loyal customers. Taking a cue from his father’s success, Don began advertising in catalogs, newspapers, and magazines, as well as introducing customers to the popular approval service. And over the years, Mystic purchased the wholesale dealer Ben-Art Stamp Company as well as Littleton’s stamp stock, when Littleton turned its focus to coins.
|In 1989, Mystic opened its new 50,000-square-foot headquarters.|
By 1989, Mystic’s staff and inventory had outgrown its home and moved to a brand-new 50,000-square foot facility. Since then, Mystic has also purchased the International Collector’s Society, Morville Worldwide Stamp Packets, and the world’s premier First Day Cover producer, Fleetwood. To serve its rapidly expanding customer base, Mystic spent more than $38,000,000 to purchase stamps in the past three years alone. Today, Mystic’s staff of 150 fully trained stamp professionals serve customers across the country, always finding new ways to promote our hobby and help our community.
Mystic in the Stamp World
| In 2007, Don became the first-ever recipient of the A.P.S. 50 Centuries Award for recruiting an unprecedented 5,000 new members.
Mystic’s core purpose is to bring the pleasure and excitement of collecting to a wide audience, and to make it fun and easy for collectors to enjoy their hobby.
In addition to heading America’s Leading Stamp Dealer, President Donald Sundman serves on the Philatelic Foundation’s Board of Trustees and is actively involved with the American Philatelic Society. He has sponsored over 5,500 collectors for membership, a record number in the history of the A.P.S. He received the A.P.S. Century Award in 1988 and in 2010 received the prestigious Luff Award for Outstanding Service to the American Philatelic Society. His generous donation to the American Philatelic Center ignited a successful campaign to renovate the complex. His support, along with that of Littleton Coin Company, is reflected in the establishment of the Maynard Sundman Hall. Sundman serves as Chairman of the National Postal Museum’s Council of Philatelists and co-sponsors its Maynard Sundman Philatelic Lecture series. In 2010, he pledged $250,000 to the National Postal Museum to help found the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery. Sundman has also created the “Shaping the Future of Philately” commission, which has created several initiatives to promote our hobby and increase the number of collectors.
Sundman actively campaigns on behalf of collectors. His Freedom of Information Request unraveled the mystery of the legendary “CIA Invert” stamps, and Sundman donated one to the National Stamp Collection. To protect collectors from a controversial U.S. Postal Service decision, Mystic filed suit to prevent the destruction of the recalled 1994 Legends of the West error sheets. Mystic has also donated copies of the rare and seldom-seen 1¢ and 2¢ American Expeditionary Forces booklet panes to the National Postal Museum.
In 1998, Mystic purchased America’s rarest stamp, the 1868 1¢ Z Grill, for a record price of $935,000. In 2005, the 1¢ Z Grill was traded in an even exchange for the unique 1918 Jenny Invert Plate-Number Block, valued at about $3 million. The historic exchange of America’s most famous and valuable rarities was covered by the worldwide media, captivating the imaginations of collectors around the globe.
Mystic in the Community
Small-town values are fundamental to the way Mystic conducts business, promotes the hobby of stamp collecting, and is a positive force in our community. Our staff of 150 colleagues is as determined to help our community as we are to provide top-notch quality service to our customers. Every year, Mystic raises money for the Relay for Life, Heart Run and Walk, local fire and rescue departments, Rotary, Lions, public school projects, and many other local and national charities. In fact, we donated over $31,000 in the past year alone.