1. Home

The Truth About Littleton Coin Company

By September 30, 2008

Follow me on:

Littleton Coin Company is perhaps the best-known coin dealer in America. Their advertising can be found across a broad spectrum of magazines and media. They employ more than 350 people at their 85,000 sq. ft. facility. Compare that to your local coin shop! The truth, however, is that all those salaries, that expensive advertising, and the gigantic facility is all paid for by coin collectors! Littleton's prices aren't just high; they're stratospheric! But is Littleton worth it?

Since I was aware that Littleton's primary business model was the coins on approval system, I signed up for their service more than a year ago, so I could give them a fair, long term trial when I wrote my review of Littleton's services. (They actually kicked me off their approval program because I wasn't buying enough coins, but they did it nicely and I knew they were right.) Although they earned an excellent rating overall, as soon as my review was published I began getting emails from readers. One even sent a formal letter on business-type letterhead, as a "letter to the editor" type of thing. I was surprised at how strongly people felt about this common complaint they expressed, but I should have foreseen it because these very same practices are listed in my Top 5 Worst Coin Investments article as #4 and #5. Since the carefully-crafted business-type letter is so well written, and expresses the same concerns that nearly two dozen other readers expressed, I'll quote the body of the letter here in its entirety. It was written by Bill Davenport of Illinois.

Dear Ms. Headley:

Regarding your article about the Littleton Coin Company of Littleton, New Hampshire (The Bottom Line, 9/10/08), you were absolutely correct that "their coin prices are very high!" In my view, there is much more about this company that coin collectors should know.

As a prefatory note, my first experience with Littleton (then Littleton Stamp & Coin Co.) was in 1970, when I first purchased coins by mail order. Like many people, I built up some of my collection with coins from Littleton. More recently, I have been extremely disappointed to see the company selling coins for anywhere between 25 to 200 percent over the listed and advertised prices. At this writing, for example, the company is selling uncirculated Silver Eagles for $43, for example. This is twice the price of the same coins advertised in leading numismatic trade publications.

It is also very troubling to me that the company is selling “colorized coins,” gold plated coins, and a plethora of products that are very basic, commodity coins offered in special packaging and sold for even higher premiums.

More recently, the company has started packaging groups of coins according to different themes and then, offering those as "club" offerings. From my perspective, collectors could purchase these “club” coins almost anywhere else for a fraction of the price. Collectors should never confuse convenience with added value.

Among the most offensive offerings are "Colorized Presidential Dollars with Case," and more specifically, dollar coins that have been printed or painted with images of Presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama. The problem with these and other novelties is they will never increase in value. After all, why would any coin collector pay $16.95 for a coin that will be worth only $1 long after either candidate leaves office. I recognize Littleton is in business to make money, but I believe outrageously high prices and the ever-increasing quantity of “novelties” are rapidly eroding the company’s erstwhile solid reputation for conservative grading. In my view, these low value product offerings are also ruining the company’s reputation as a serious coin dealer.

There should be Federal laws that prohibit companies or individuals from selling painted, enameled, flash-plated, or otherwise adulterated coins. In my opinion, Littleton should be leading the fight against adulterated coins, not selling them.

It is unfortunate that this company, to which so many collectors turned to because of its reputation, is the last place on earth I would ever buy coins.

Kind regards,

Bill Davenport

The reason I published this letter is because I agree wholeheartedly with Bill. I bought my first coins and stamps from Littleton in the late '60s as a child, and I've always had a certain fondness for them. I've always seen their widespread advertising efforts as a sort of "missionary" effort to bring new collectors into the fold. I know this view seems naive, but if nobody is reaching out to people outside our marketplace, how can the hobby grow? In recent years, though, Littleton has strayed from the solid numismatic material it built its grand foundation upon, and the colorized coins and spurious sets actually sadden me.

I presented the reader feedback I had received to a Littleton executive (although he didn't see Bill's letter) and asked for Littleton's response. The executive, who didn't want to be named, said that the reason Littleton is selling this kind of stuff is that the customers have asked for it. He said the stuff actually sells very well, which is why Littleton has been increasing their offerings along these lines.

What do you think about this issue? Is Littleton out of line to be marketing this kind of stuff, or are they just keeping up with the times and so let the "buyer beware?" Is this venerable grand patriarch of our hobby selling out and forgetting its roots? Share your views in the comments section below. I am certain that Littleton will be watching, so make your voices heard!

Comments

October 1, 2008 at 9:29 am
(1) Les says:

I agree with you 100%: I have always regarded, as you put it, “coins with crap on them” as not worthy of collecting. If it didn’t come from the Mint that way, I don’t want it. This would also include ‘hobo’ nickels in my book, and even ‘rainbow’ Morgans. I don’t know how they got that way, and I certainly have no guarantee that they will stay looking like that in the future.

As a company that keeps coin collecting in the forefront of the general population, I appreciate their work, but for me specifically, I will stick to compiling my own theme sets if I so choose.

Thank you, Susan, for being on the front lines of our avocation, and for keeping it real.

October 1, 2008 at 10:22 am
(2) Dan Kail says:

I agree with you about Littleton. They should change their name to novelty coin co.
Even so-called highbrow companies like Blanchard sell their “investment coins” to “uneducated” colllectors at way, way above market. I know from experience that buying investment coins from Blanchard is a very bad investment. The salesman talks the coin up as if its the rarest coin on the market and will be a tremendous investment. It seemed like a used car salesman telling me that this car is low miles and granny driven only to find out the odometer has been turned back. However, (on the bright side) my bad experiences with companies like Blanchard forced me to do my homework and study the market and become educated in the coin world. Web sites such as yours have helped me to become my own “expert” and I have actually made some pretty good deals. Thank you for your efforts. I greatly appreciate them and find them quite interesting.

DK

October 2, 2008 at 2:33 pm
(3) Rich LaRose says:

I got one of there coins packs on approvel and it came damaged. I’t looked like someone at postal service ran the packet instead of hand canceling it. I took it to the P.O.to send it back because the coins where and the package was ruined. They told me I would have to pay the the postage as Littleton did not have insurents on it. I paid and called LCC and told them. About two months later I called LCC again. T was told they didn’t get the coins back and I should have sent them back insured. I asked the person how come they were’nt shipped to me insured. The responce was we’ll right it off this time. They just sent me more uninsured. It going back the same. COD

October 3, 2008 at 12:21 pm
(4) ron alford says:

i have a 1939 jefferson 5 cet with no mint mark why does have non

October 3, 2008 at 8:26 pm
(5) Ron P. says:

Littleton is a highly reputable company. However as any experienced collector knows the prices they charge are way over any reputable coin dealers prices. Not overgraded coins, just really overpriced. As a result of their overpriced coins they never advertise in any coin publications where thier sell prices can be compared to other dealers selling the same coins. Littleton can not compete with these delears. Not even close!
As for the colorized and fancy packaged “junk” no experience collector would even consider getting any of it so if Littleton can sell it – well good for them. Buyer beware!
As a collector and part time dealer I have sold coins to Littleton because their buy prices are in many cases higher than any other coin dealers.
So my advice. Don’t buy any “junk” coins from anyone. Don’t buy anything from Littleton. Just sell to them. Always shop around to see what others sell the same coins for. But the book before you buy the coin and always buy the coin, never the holder!

Ron P.

October 8, 2008 at 4:07 am
(6) coinguy says:

I have been collecting coins for a long time. I do both buying and selling. I have had many customers want products that most dealers would be like “why would anyone want to sell that?”. Just because someone once told you a cleaned, colored, or overgraded coin is worth face value does not make it so. People buy what they want. Not every coin will go up in value, no matter what. For example do you think a normal uncirculated 2005 washington quarter will ever be worth anything? I seriously doubt it. How many americans do you think have one in their collection though? Believe it or not some people still buy some coins just cause they like it, and not in hopes of turning a profit later. All coins have their set market value, and unless the metal its minted on skyrockets. There is a good chance no coin will ever be worth more then you paid. If you like a coin and dont mind paying the price buy it. Otherwise don’t! Just keep your “expert” opinions to yourselves!

October 8, 2008 at 5:21 am
(7) Bob Kral says:

When Sam Walton passed away, seemingly so passed the ethical business standards and genuine care for every employee and customer that made the Walmart “family” a household name. When Maynard Sundman, the founder of Littleton Coin Company passed away last November, perhaps so passed those grand business values where doing whats right for the customer everytime was the foundation on which the company operated. Those were the days when your word and reputation truly was your bond.

October 8, 2008 at 8:49 am
(8) KTD says:

The only people buying “Coins with crap” on them are not TRUE coin collectors. All they are is pretty painted chunks of clad metal that are worthelss and look cool sitting on a book case some where alongside their “Humell” collection.

October 8, 2008 at 8:53 am
(9) Ron in Wyo says:

I agree with everybody that these coins are trash. Do you want to know how I deal with company’s that sell a crappy product? I don’t buy the product!! I follow this rule for cars, food and every other single thing that I WANT! Calling the company unethical or any other opinionated name is in itself juvenile. This is incredible to me that people think that because something is overpriced or presented in a manner in which they don’t agree with that a law should be enacted against that particular retailer. If people would quit buying their junk, then they would quit selling it! IF THEIR ADVERTISING REALLY BOTHERS YOU TO THE POINT THAT YOU ARE UPSET, QUIT LOOKING AT THE ADVERTISEMENTS!!!!!!!!

October 8, 2008 at 8:57 am
(10) Rick Ludwig says:

Well I agree with your comments…but Id like to say that experience with Little has probably been very educational for new collecters and made them more aware or mistakes one can make….As always..buyer beware.

October 8, 2008 at 10:23 am
(11) andyrme2 says:

hello
some coins i like and for different reasons. the colorized or any coin difference from the norm is just,in my mind,another form of coin collecting.i say this because one day i was shocked to hear that people collect the ..long pennies.those are certainly not mint issue. as i ve always heard ..collect what you like…..
thanks
andy b

October 8, 2008 at 10:54 am
(12) Bill E says:

I see a lot of crybabies here. Why do you think that you have to pay the exuberant prices for the items Littleton sells? If you were in the market for a 2006 Silver Eagle and Littleton had it for $55.00, and someone else had it for $32.00, which would you buy? If you bought the littleton coin then you aren’t very smart. They sell items to all kinds of clooectors not just penny freaks or Morgan cololecters. I don’t believe Littleton forced you to pay their price. You could have refused it. Just because it doesn’t fall into your price range doesn’t mean it is too expensive. Aparently someone feels it was a good enough deal to have paid the price because they are still selling them. If you don’t like the price, then don’t buy it. A local advertised in the local paper the other day that they had some gold bullion for sale at $15.00 over actual value and sold it. Not to me but to a person I knew. I asked him why he bought it and he said that he just really wanted it. That doesn’t mean it was too high priced, it just means it was too pricey for me. It seems to me that people are just looking for something to complain about and this time it is Littleton. Who will it be next week? Ford Motor Co.?

October 8, 2008 at 11:35 am
(13) Gary Bonner says:

You didn’t meantion Cleaned and polished coins, that to me is just as bad as the painted coins.

October 8, 2008 at 11:36 am
(14) JIM says:

Overpriced,yes. But they do more to atract new people into coin collecting than anyone or anything I am aware of.
I started my collection with Littleton. I no longer buy from them but all my experence with them was good. I paid too much for a few of my coins, but I soon learned and isn’t that what it is about.
As far as colorized and painted coins, get ready I LIKE THEM!~
I know they will probably never gain in value but some of them I like to look at. Some of them make me laugh. I put a pretty high value on my FUN stuff. So if you don’t like it leave it alone. and I won’t comment on stuff you like.
In my collection I have rare coins,common coins,enlongated coins,collerized coins,hobo coins (carved),acient coins,world coins and probably some I have forgoten. All have a place, and if you don’t like some of them DON’T BUY THEM. But do not say “no serious collector” would buy them because I am here to testefy that is wrong.

October 8, 2008 at 2:34 pm
(15) Charles Johnson says:

Dear Ms Headley; I am in complete agreement about the Littleton comments. I am 71 years old and have been collecting since childhood and I used to do business with Littleton but not so much anymore. It seems to me their prices really went up when the new giant location was opened. Overhead must be killing them. I only buy single coins to fill in spaces from them now.

October 8, 2008 at 5:15 pm
(16) Murry Stapp says:

Thank goodness LIttleton is not in the mortgage business. They have become greed merchants of the worst kind. They now sell junk at exorbitant prices as well as overpriced regular cons. I pray if they go under that no one is there to bail them out.

October 8, 2008 at 7:11 pm
(17) Malechai Diorys says:

“We sell them because people ask for them.” A Littleton representative addressing the spurious altered coins and fabricated sets.
Sounds just like a drug dealer’s rationalization!

October 8, 2008 at 8:57 pm
(18) Dean says:

I don’t have a problem with the colorized coins. My feeling is that there are plenty of state quarters and they are not destroying enough to make any difference. That said, I would not pay very much for them. They are just a novelty. What bothers me is the new collectors who get turned off the collecting when they find out the resale value of such coins.

October 8, 2008 at 9:39 pm
(19) wh says:

i agree littleton prices are OUTRAGES. way above any coin dealer except a few and the colorized president dollar. i doubt anyone will but a dollar for 16 dollars. highey reputational not over or undergraded but the price. i mean com on.

October 8, 2008 at 9:49 pm
(20) Patrick Sisler says:

Bravo on your article. People, coins are coins are coins. We in this world we call ourselves Numismatists. Whether you are young or older new to the game or an expert, you will find businesses like Littleton trying to make a buck. Are their prices high for what they sell? Absolutely. Do I buy from them? NO. Will I buy from them? No, why buy an MS60 coin (which all of theirs are that they advertise as mint condition) for say $20.00 when you can get the exact same coin at MS63 or better for half the cost? I have read all of these comments and it comes down to who do you waqnt to do business with? Coin World has a great deal of Sellers where their coins as well are high, but, they are better in my opinion. You definately get what you pay for in this arena. If you do your homework on this subject you will understand exactly what I am trying to say. There will ALWAYS be a company that wants your $$$$ and will sell you the moon. Pay attention and educate yourself in our Field! Happy Hunting!!!

October 8, 2008 at 10:15 pm
(21) Bill says:

I do not like, nor do I ‘collect’, these colorized or otherwise modified coins.

However, Littleton is a business. It can rightly offer any product it wants, and will do so as long as that product brings in a profit.

If- like me- one does not want any part of these modified coins, simply ‘don’t buy them’!

That is called the free market.

October 9, 2008 at 1:05 am
(22) Sideline Viewer says:

The comments here generally boil down to either “Shame on them for overpricing their coins and selling such crap!” or “So what? If you don’t like it, or it’s too high, don’t buy.”

Put me down as the latter. LCC always has targeted beginners as a large part of its market, so it’s not surprising that they are meeting a demand for gimmick coins and sets from that segment. As long as they don’t make bogus claims about “investment value,” don’t sell damaged coins, and have a no-questions return policy, I say there’s no accounting for tastes so live and let live.

They also have high-end offerings that occasionally are listed in their catalogs. They may be overpriced, but they’re hardly gimmicks for newbies. Ditto for their “midlist” offerings of lesser coins.

If any of those who are criticizing LCC’s prices are dealers, you ought to be grateful for LCC. A goodly portion of your customers may have gotten the coin-buying habit from LCC to start with. And eventually, their pricing drove these buyers to you.

October 9, 2008 at 4:38 pm
(23) James Wembley says:

Anyone who would purchase coins from the Littleton snake-oil charlatans should have their head examined by a mental health professional!!! Better yet, give your money to me, I’ll pocket the profit and send you MUCH better coins. It’s a win-win and no poor coins have to suffer the embarrassment of being ruined with crappy paint!!@!@!@!

October 9, 2008 at 11:56 pm
(24) david makofsky says:

Many of us start with Littleton (actually I bought coins on Home Shopping Network as well). Any soophistication with collecting leads us to discover better sources by ourselves, which is probably the best way to grow into coin collecting

David

October 11, 2008 at 9:32 pm
(25) chuck says:

I think that as long as Littleton isn’t selling their stuff as “investments,” they should be free to do as they like. Buyers need to educate themselves before purchasing, raw coins don’t come with a warranty! Personally, I find far more egregious some of the sellers in Coin World with the multipage ads, peddling sliders or cleaned/altered coins as “BU” or top quality. The ANA could easily put a stop to that, if they cared about the average collector.

October 13, 2008 at 10:21 am
(26) Thomas Atkinson says:

I would just like to add that I too had bought from Littleton. I hate to see that they are going the route of selling the “collector” items. But I do understand the need to make money and keep the business going. I can definitely believe that the “public” wants those items, therefore, it is good business for them to sell these types of coins. However, I do believe that the serious coin collector will steer clear of them. As for the higher prices, I can only say, “Buyer beware!” I personally only by from local, reputable coin dealers in my area where I can actually go in and talk to the person and see the coins.

Thank you for your interest.

October 13, 2008 at 1:20 pm
(27) Skip Marshall says:

I’m in agreement with many of the previous posts. Littleton does charge a hefty premium, but from what I have seen in the past, the coins are accurately graded.

Regarding the novelty coins, to each their own. As long as Littleton isn’t stating or implying that these coins are rare or will go up in value, I see no reason to criticize what others collect (even though I think the are a waste of money).

Finally, I have had a few opportunities to hear Dave Sundman (Pres. of Littleton) speak at club meetings and talk with him afterwards. He is very willing to share his knowledge with others. In our hobby, there there are Coin Sellers and Numismatists who sell coins. Anybody who buys coins at a shop or at shows can tell which is which. Dave Sundman is Numismatist, not a coin seller.

Skip Marshall
ANA Member since 1982

October 15, 2008 at 4:21 am
(28) dave obrien says:

the responce from littleton that the customers ask for the painted and plated JUNK is deceptive it’s the advertizing that lures the new and uninformed collector into thinking that these coins have a value when they are actually worthless as a collectable,i agree with you that there should be a law that prohibites alterating a coin for any reason.we should contact our represenatives and get them to pass a law on altering coins.

October 16, 2008 at 11:04 am
(29) metaledged says:

I too bought some coins from littleton in the late 70′s until I realized they were way overpriced. Why anyone nowdays with any type of internet connection would buy coins on approval from them is beyond me. Back then after visiting your local coins shop if you had one, Littleton was one of your only choices. Ebay would be the place to fill the holes in your collecton, especially error or variety coins. Ive been buying and selling coins on ebay for the last 2 and a half years with very little problems.

October 19, 2008 at 12:40 am
(30) pennymann says:

Littleton Coins are not worth the price that people pay for them. I have been in the coin dealing business for over 25 years,and have found that quite a few people have bought from Littleton. Most of their items are graded properly, but the price they charge for them are no where near the price they actualy are worth. People should never buy coins that they cannot see in person before they buy them. We have purchased 100′s of coins from collectors that have bought from Littleton, and have had to tell them that the coins they purchased were not worth what they paid for them. Collectors should only buy from dealers in their area, and only if they have some knowledge of coin collecting and how to spot good deals. Littleton, in my opinion, is not a good source for buying coins for the average collector.

October 21, 2008 at 7:26 pm
(31) Steve says:

I like the collectable coins that Littleton sells. My collection contains both stuff with real value, and stuff that I just like to handle and look at. Isn’t that the object of collecting?

October 30, 2008 at 5:38 am
(32) Tom in Santa Barbara says:

The way I see the Littleton business model in respect to their “real” product offerings, is that they sell EF40 to MS63 coins at greatly inflated prices to the general public. However, they spend millions of dollars every year purchasing large and small quantities from the US Mint and private parties, including entire collections on the cheap from the naive, the cash poor, and estate collections/dispostions. They then appear to sell the low end and lower quality coins through their catalog offerings at greatly inflated prices while cherrypicking the best and most valuable out of the rest. All of their painted and plated coin offerings can be easily explained, as the coating/plating will convert an AU50 coin to a “Mint” grade one, but I have yet to figure out where they sell all the old MS/PR66+ rare coins and MS/PR69-70 new coins they acquire, as they don’t appear overly anxious to sell them in their catalogs. Is Littleton a major source for the new offerings at many of the ultra-high end coin auctions? Think about that in conjunction to how the retail diamond market works; prized coins would be carefully timed and released to obtain and maintain the highest price levels. Someone or several deep-source groups seem to act in this role as supplier sources for auctions; why couldn’t Littleton be one of them?

November 16, 2008 at 5:29 pm
(33) Richard says:

I also started collecting coins with Littleton back in the 60s. My family & I even stopped by to tour their facility in the 80s while on a 9,000 mile vacation. It was an enjoyable experience. I’ve been buying, selling & collecting coins as a hobby for over 40 years. I’m down to only a few coins left to have a coin from every country in existance since the mid-1800s. Enough about me.

I don’t care what others want to charge for their goods & services. If I want it and I’m willing to pay for it then I make the deal. Then I walk away.

As far as hobbies are concerned I’m reminded of a Dilbert cartoon I saw years ago. Dogbert is walking out of the house with a fly-swatter in his hand. The dog is headed out to go and “wack” people. Dilbert wants to know why he is going to do this. Dogbert replies that “It’s a hobby, why do I need a reason?”

Collect what you want & enjoy your hobby. Our country appears to still allow that. We don’t need any more people wanting to add a law or regulation to hinder my pursuit of happiness. Thanks and God Bless!

December 14, 2008 at 9:24 pm
(34) Mamie Stephens says:

I ordered some coins for my Grandson for Xmas but after reading all the negative comments I would like to cancel my order.I cannot find a phone number for Littleton Coin Co. to cancel my order.If anyone knows their phone number plaese post it for me Thanks

December 14, 2008 at 10:05 pm
(35) Susan Headley says:

Mamie,

Littleton is one of the most reputable, reliable coin dealers in America. I gave them 4 stars out of 5 in my review of them. The biggest problem with Littleton is that they are very expensive, and they’ve started selling spurious sets and colorized coins in recent years, which will almost certainly never be worth much.

As far as a place to buy gifts from though, Littleton is great for most people that aren’t knowledgeable about coins. Their grading is generally fair, their coins are genuine, and their customer service is world-class. Just don’t buy coins for investment purposes from them.

If you still want to cancel your order after reading my full review of Littleton, you can reach them at 1-800-645-3122.

Susan Headley
About.com Guide to Coins

December 17, 2008 at 7:01 am
(36) Ron Hatton says:

Everything you say is correct in your judgement of Littleton however, you should take a look at COINS4ME.COM if you really want to compare prices. I shoped there before going to Littleton, and boy was that a mistake. lincoln memorial cents from 2005 through 2008 D and Plain are selling for .75 cents each, with the Proof going for 5.oo dollars. what a rip off….Dont ask about the 2004 coins.

Ron

December 17, 2008 at 7:45 pm
(37) Dave Eleland says:

I bought from them as a child in the ’60s and almost always received badly cleaned, brillo-padded Lincolns and worthless aluminum foreign stuff. ‘Funny, their ads state that all coins we want to sell to them must be problem-free, blah, blah, blah. I have little respect for them anymore. Their prices are outrageous!

December 23, 2008 at 11:35 am
(38) JOHN says:

I ordered a collection early in December for s challenged young man who loves coins. This was a Christmas gift. It looks like I will not receive the item for another week or so and here is is Dec 23rd.
It took them 10 days just to ship the item out to me and its going to take another 10 for me to get the item..this was an important gift from me to this young man…I called them and they told me to do what I like..its just too bad. NEVER AGAIN..STAY AWAY–RUDE

December 29, 2008 at 2:35 pm
(39) Frank says:

Littleton Coin like H E Harris both served a purpose for beginners and I thank them for getting me started. My issue with them goes a bit deeper. Being located in Littleton, NH they have access to a very underpaid labor pool and use that to their advantage. I once thought it would be fun to work there when I retired as I have property and family in the area. The job that I do now in the Boston area would be paid at about a third of my current salary at Littleton Coin. That same type of position at other companies in the Littleton area would be compensate me at about 80% of my current salary. While I agree that workers as well as collectors can always look elsewhere, they do seem to take advantage beyond reason. As for painted, plated or cleaned coins..that’s just flushing your money away and shame on them for selling that stuff.

January 1, 2009 at 6:35 pm
(40) martin connelley says:

Littleton also buys coins and has frequent ads in a leading coin newspaper indicating they pay the highest prices in the industry. They also proudly announce that they are life members of the ANA (American Numismatic Assoc)which has “strict” ethics guidelines for its members in all business dealings. What a joke! I complained to the ANA after Littleton offered me a ridculously low offer on a selection of coins I sent them and was told they would bring up the dealer “code of ethics” at its Oct meeting. I guess selling 300% higher to and buying 300% lower from an unsuspecting innocent public is an ethical business practice to the ANA. As I have heard nothing more I assume they choose to ignore there own standards when it comes to certain coin dealers.

January 4, 2009 at 5:30 pm
(41) LAB says:

Seems there is—or WAS a law against defacing US currency. Am I wrong about that?

I agree with all of you who point out that business ethics died with Sam Walton. In the excesses of the last 20+ years, the suppliers and consumers of useless crap have blossomed as never before.

January 5, 2009 at 4:50 pm
(42) roger says:

The biggest problem with Littleton is that myself being a dealer I get collections offered to me that people bought from LCC and I try to tell them that they can only get about one fifth of what they paid. they then think that I am the “crook” instead of understanding that they got taken by Littleton! So many people buy this stuff with the thought of it being an investment when in actuallity it will never be worth a thing in any one of our lifetimes.

January 13, 2009 at 11:07 am
(43) RON says:

I recently bought something from Littleton and with it was a Silver American Eagle. The eagle was priced in the upper 50′s. I said no way and sent it back. I also wrote to them and asked them why they had that high price on that coin. Their reply was, ‘We have the most knowlegable buyers in the market and they purchase only the highest graded coins for our company to sell’. If that is knowledge, that’s sad. I won’t buy anything else from them ever.

January 14, 2009 at 6:49 pm
(44) David says:

I have read the comments. My question who else would be similar to Littleton. I bought from them for several years on their coins on approval deal. I have since quit buying from them. Where do I look from here? Thank you

January 27, 2009 at 7:02 pm
(45) John Whitehead says:

I couldn’t agree with you more. While Littleton always has an extensive selection of both American and foreign coins and bullion for sale, their prices are outrageously high! Just yesterday, I saw them advertise a Mexican silver Libertad on their website for twice what another dealer would charge.

I also don’t thinks it’s a good idea to colorize any coin, no matter who or what is depicted on the coin.

Keep up the good work, Susan!

January 29, 2009 at 10:39 am
(46) Pat says:

Yes Sue, Littleton coin company is way over priced I did the quarter with them the P, D proof and silver proof I paid way more then they where worth but for me it was convenient they would just send them to you when they came out but all my other coins that I collected I got else where :-)

February 21, 2009 at 8:33 pm
(47) Decline to Provide Name says:

I have been screwed by Littleton Coin!!!
I had sent for a coin set for my grandson. He recieved the coins for his birthday, no problem. When I contacted them to notify that I was closing my account and wanted to make sure that the check had cleared, I was told it wasn’t a problem. I got a letter today that tells me the check didn’t clear (days after I closed my acount after they toldd me it was okay) and now they want $71.85, for a $24.95 coin set.

I’m a 83 year old man working part-time and living on a dewelling income. I had to save up for that present. Littleton doesn’t care about their customers the way other dealers should. Don’t buy from them!!!!

March 4, 2009 at 3:28 am
(48) Susan Headley says:

I have made contact with the 83 year-old man who posted his complaint here. After learning the facts from him and contacting a Littleton executive, it seems there was a legitimate misunderstanding between himself and Littleton.

The Littleton executive assured me that the situation would be resolved in a fair manner to the customer. I am asking the customer to return here to post the outcome of this contact (which I cannot do because it concerns a private matter) but he is under no obligation to do so, of course.

I just wanted to state for the record that I feel Littleton took the matter very seriously, and they have resolved the matter to my total satisfaction. Although I don’t agree with everything Littleton sells, my review makes it very clear that Littleton is second to none when it comes to customer service.

You can read my full Littleton review for the details.

March 7, 2009 at 10:57 pm
(49) Steve says:

I have been collecting coin’s since mid-50′s and I started with Littleton in the 80′s and was on their coin’s on approval until I had reached where I wanted to be and stopped it. I was wondering why it took 45 days for them to get new coins and looked around and found large company that had them or order in two weeks and they where half the cost.& less Shipping, I still order things I can’nt get else where like X923, &ATDF-H40. They are lower priced on Lincoln cent, nickels, &new dimes

March 31, 2009 at 7:25 am
(50) B.WAHL says:

Littltons PROFIT SHARE program is hardly worth while as they entice the customer to keep buying,and offer little worth while in return. And they keep increasing the amount of shares to purchase something worth while-ITSa joke”

May 15, 2009 at 2:24 pm
(51) jesse chiles says:

i order a coin from littletons wish book and paid for the coin. eleven days later they called to say the coin had gong up in price
but the price had gone up fourteen dollars.
will never buy from them again . jesse

June 30, 2009 at 1:33 am
(52) eric says:

Littletons recent offerings of “trash” coins is very disturbing. Also, I have compared prices for like items and they are ALWAYS higher. But, the most disappointing realization is they rarely grade their coins any longer and their sales associaties have no idea why. They also “guess” on the grades. VERY disappointing and drives me away, far away, from purchasing anything from them.

July 11, 2009 at 7:45 pm
(53) Tim Glover says:

I have been collecting since the mid 70′s. I now have a wide variety of coins and paper money. I am very disappointed with Littletons trust program of see before you buy. I was sent a 1921 P Morgan dollar. It was graded EF by them. It looked like it was cleaned and touched up around the ear to match the grade given(maybe even with a small awl)to it. The rim tells a different story. I was shocked to see the price of 50.00 dollars put on it. They were going to make me a special deal and cut that in half. Plus shipping of course. This put it back up to 30.00 dollars for an EF 1921 morgan. I have local dealers that laugh at this kind of stuff because I can purchase the MS-60 1921 for the same amount. I am now stuck with the postage and trouble it takes to get it back to them in 15 days or less. The mark up on this coin which is only 24.00 at most anywhere else was to set me up for coins that actually do have value to be way over priced and probably cleaned to boot. I will get it back to them but the way they do it is a real pain just like ant mail order where the S&H is always yours. I should have known.

July 18, 2009 at 12:24 pm
(54) johnny says:

i agree with you about littleton coin co their prices on coins are very high compared to other coin co . like their silver eagles. their coin clubs like the half dollar . are very high to, thank;s

July 19, 2009 at 7:04 pm
(55) Andrew says:

I have purchased some coins from them and from other companies as well and I don’t find their prices very high. I think we must pay price for quality and rare materials. I know, when they buy, LCC will bargain with the seller a lot and then sell pretty high. Yet there are many other dealers you can purchase from. My concern is other. It is some of their rude management. I can’t stand when they call people and hang up the phone. Their communication ethics with other businesses are non-existent and substandard and personally I will never do business with Littleton Coin company again even if that means not selling to them and losing potential profits.

July 21, 2009 at 9:21 pm
(56) Douglas Link says:

I think Littleton is guilty of predatory practices against elders… When my grandfather died, i uncovered over $5,000 in coin purchases that actually valued about $1,000. They found an old gullable man and exploited him… there ought to be a class action lawsuit against this type of business

July 23, 2009 at 10:58 am
(57) Steve from Oregon says:

I see many post’s regarding Littleton, only a few, including Susan’s seem to have any positive points. I would like to point out some positives. First of all I have been a collector since my childhood in the 60′s just when Clad started to replace actual silver coins. I still have every single coin I ran across, with the exception of giving coins as gifts to new collectors. I would be classified a collector FIRST, investor second. Now to my offering of this debate… Littleton is a fine company. Their product and Customer Service is TOP NOTCH. You do not become a Major Company, especially in this economy being anything but.
First, is Littleton expensive? ABSOLUTELY. I would say about Twice as expensive for coin when compared to current price listings. Are they correctly graded? Again I would say ABSOLUTELY! I have found their grading to be very fair, and have only read very few posts here criticizing their grading. Now that being said, a couple of things that Littleton does, not mentioned in prior posts, offer for customers to complete their series. If you join one of their clubs (Franklin Halves, Morgan Dollars, etc.) after your 3rd or 4th shipment, Littleton sends you a deluxe coin album with your approval coins for free. Not their Intercept, top of the line album, but a very decent three ring binder that is easily Whitman or Dansco quality. Next, with every order, Littleton awards Profit Shares that are redeemable for supplies and other coins. Also about the colorized coins and spurious coin sets that Littleton offers, I feel that they are offering products of interest for those customers that want them. Littleton also has a customer friendly return policy; they want their customers to come back. To sum up….. Expensive? Heck yes. But I felt that a whole picture needed to be presented to be fair and balanced! Good Day to All!! Steve

July 24, 2009 at 5:04 pm
(58) olegeezer says:

I don’t like Littleton’s Coins on Approval “service”. It’s a costly hassle to send them back. I sent a note with my order warning them to not send any coins on approval, I won’t return them nor will I pay for them! I’m just starting to collect coins, from the comments here, maybe I should avoid this company.

July 27, 2009 at 11:01 pm
(59) JimmyJ says:

I need BU lincoln cents from 1959 to date,

Who has alist as good as Littleton?

August 11, 2009 at 3:55 pm
(60) Carl says:

My experiences with LCC beginning in the late ’60s were very good, but as I came to have access to well-stocked coin stores and eventually eBay, I moved on. I still would recommend them as a good resource to a beginning collector. (But not to an investor!)

August 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm
(61) Henrik says:

Littleton has a point. As long as people are willing to buy colorized coins and spurious sets, there will be a market and money to be made with this kind of stuff. Another example are the “First Strike” coins by PCGS. People are willing to pay more for these coins, so there will be a market for it. All business…………..

August 27, 2009 at 4:13 am
(62) Tim Glover says:

I signed up for the coins on approval by buying three Morgans for 67.00. Of course one of those was a 1921. The first Morgan I got for approval was graded EF by them. It was barely VF at most. It was the year that over 20 million were minted from P mint besides the 1921. I could purchase the EXACT same coin in MS63 at least for the 60.00 dollars they wanted. I quickly wrote them and returned the morgan telling them not to insult me like that again and I could imagine what a coin of real value would cost from them. They are right up there with the goons on TV for selling coins. Thanks for a place to say this somewhere besides to their face as I did already.

November 3, 2009 at 2:03 am
(63) Michael says:

Yes, the coins that Littleton sells can be found at mom and pop dealers for less. But it gets old hearing coin collectors and dealers trying to push their beliefs off on everyone else. The US Mint is a fine part of America and I am proud to collect their past and present offerings. But I also can appreciate novelties, colorized coins, etc. What about the fine enammelled ingots that The Franklin Mint made in the 70′s for classic car marques…these were nothing short of a masterpiece. Littleton isn’t hiding anything from anyone, they gladly accept returns, which is more than can be said of many mom and pop coin dealers.

November 6, 2009 at 9:47 am
(64) Mark says:

Like any business, Littleton is offering products that people want at a price people are willing to pay.

I find it remarkable that coin collectors believe that profit margins have a moral compass that must be followed or you risk be labeled as a crook. Free markets work best when the market dictates terms. And terms are agreed to buy the buyer before money is forked over.

There are plenty of guides out there to help a buyer and a seller agree on a fair price. Littleton is not preventing anyone from doing their homework. Every market has different market segments, and different dynamics.

Certainly buyers should become educated, and like any other collector, I’ve made my share of purchases that I regret – but I don’t blame the seller!

Just because I don’t like a colorized coin, that doesn’t mean someone else can’t!

My other beef with my fellow coin collectors is how much the devalue my time when I search and find a coin or medal that is rare. In the negotiating, they will want to pay me a price that is equivalent or less than a recent price paid. They want to constrain my margin, or even better for them, get me to agree to take a loss.

Guess what I do then? I don’t sell it to them!

So for you whiners our there about Littleton – do your research first! If you think that Littleton is asking for a premium price, ask yourself the questions “How much is my time worth? Do I want to spend hours searching for a price that is $20 less than what Littleton is offering, which if fine because my time is worth very little? Do I want to buy from some unknown dealer who may not offer a refund?”

November 20, 2009 at 3:47 pm
(65) felipe says:

hello well i just read some comments.And i was disapointed i just recently started collecting coins with littleton so i just want to get some advise since littleton is so expensive who is good to buy coins and papermoney from?

December 7, 2009 at 10:35 pm
(66) John K. Martin Jr says:

I have been a coin dealer in Vermont for over 20 years. I have seen collectors being ripped of by telemarketers that set up shop for a few months and then vanish. But I have a hard time To Believe that a coin company as large as littleton coin company can justifies selling a Indian penny that they purchase for 1.20 and then sell for 4.95 or a proof half dollar that they pay 3.00 for 18.00. I have had to appraise coin collections that were purchased from littleton coin company in the tune of $40.000.00. The actual market value was a mere $7.000.00 . By the time this poor old lady stopped her $400.00 a month investment for her children or so she thought. I hope collectors do there research to be sure they are dealing with a reputable coin dealer.

December 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm
(67) Dab says:

Thus why I only buy supplies from them. And that’s only because they are a nice inbetween step up from Dansco’s and cheaper than Interceptors Shield.

December 19, 2009 at 2:39 pm
(68) Alex in Tennessee says:

If you don’t like novelty coins, don’t buy them. If Littleton can get 25% to 200% of fair market value for what they sell in the FREE MARKET, more power to them. What’s the problem with all you whiners? The only complaint you might have is if Littleton didn’t send the merchandise advertised and wouldn’t make good on it. Anything else is your fault. Grow up.

January 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm
(69) KingBob says:

Listen folks, coin collecting has about died out! At least Littleton has brought new people into collecting by offering those sets that are professionally packaged in a manner not available elsewhere. If that gets people into the collecting hobby then that’s a great plus. It’s a free market out there; more power to them!

January 25, 2010 at 4:02 pm
(70) Don Robinson says:

If you think Littleton is outrageous in price…try the franklin Mint! Their S & H is more than the coin is worth! Therefore you pay outrageously for both the coin(s) and the S&H! Bottomline is this…the economy is bad, the American dollar is decreasing in value, so they, like many others, are sucking the blood out of us while they can! I have come to the point of stopping my collection.

January 29, 2010 at 3:53 pm
(71) Jeff in Nebraska says:

My Mother lived in NH, not too far from LCC, and when she died I found thousands of dollars in receipts for coins that she had bought from LCC as an investment. When the executor of the estate filed his report with the probate court, he had the coin collections from LCC valued at less then 20% of the invoice prices paid. My Mother was an elderly woman who was very trusting and although I don’t know that she was taken advantage of, I doubt that she would have paid $100 for every $19.73 of “real” value if she had understood what she was actually buying. If I had only known!

Jeff

February 10, 2010 at 10:26 pm
(72) George A. Broxton says:

I hope I’m not repeating what’s already been said, but I think honesty in advertising is just as important as price.
If Littleton is honest in its advertising, and delivers what it says, then let the buyer beware, but pay for what one gets. Shop around before you buy, but don’t complain if you agree to a price and get what you pay for, not cheated. I haven’t bought from Littleton yet, but plan to buy a few items to test their honesty in advertising.

February 21, 2010 at 5:55 pm
(73) Christopher Sieracki says:

I think Littleton has every right to sell these doctored coins, but I think in the listing they should mention the words “novelty” and/or “altered”. They should also list on the inside of the front cover and on the order form of their catalogue the intent of such items. It’s bad enough late night cable TV sells them as investment items, but a respected coin dealer should not even hint at that.

August 9, 2010 at 10:58 am
(74) Diocletian ( my real name !) says:

To all of you who castigate LCC for its prices and bray that the “Guvmint” ought to pass laws that prohibit LCC from selling their coins at “outrageous” prices, I say, climb out of your cribs, grow up, and educate yourself about coins and the coin market before you buy any coins from anyone. There is a superabundance of solid market information available out there, along with the Red Book, Blue Book, greysheet, and lots of other sources of real-world information about coins and their markets. Here’s a rule to abide by: first buy the book about the coin(s) you’re interested in, then study its market(s), then buy the coin(s). Take responsibility for your education and the way that you choose to spend (or squander) your money instead of running to “Momma Govmint” to save you from your own self-sustained ignorance and consequent foolish purchases of coins that no one forced you to buy in the first place. Contrary to your uneducated notions, LCC is not engaging in any fraudulent behavior. Its advertisements may contain “puffery”, but that’s perfectly legal and fully protected by the First Amendment. Think and educate yourselves instead of whining. Your reward will be your having become savvier coin collectors and buyers.

August 16, 2010 at 1:40 pm
(75) steve says:

I have two silver engles from littleton that have Black spots on both sides?

September 6, 2010 at 4:35 pm
(76) Matt says:

I am annoyed at the high prices Littleton sets up. For instance selling new D and P mint sets for about $7 more than it cost at the U.S. Mints website. When I saw that Littleton lost a good bit of credibility with me.

September 9, 2010 at 3:22 pm
(77) david says:

Wheather silver eagles are painted or not they will still go up in value if silver goes up. I bought some below silver price. Good Buy

November 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm
(78) Rich Dirsa says:

No matter what topic you talk about, you always have the cry babies who want to destroy a company just because they paid too much for the coins. Everyone forgets about the nice catalogs with a lot of information in it for beginners that they put out. Everyone forgets about the great website they have with a lot of educational info on it that beginners can use to learn about their hobby. They give profit shares for every dollar you spend which allows you to buy additional coins and supplies. Yea, you pay a little more at Littleton but they provide a lot of info and with profit shares, they add a fun aspect to the hobby. I, for one, are using my profit shares to put together a Presidential set. Yea, I paid a little more for the coins, but when you add in the profit shares and valuable info in their catalogs and website that nobody else gives you, it ends up being just a fun experience that I wouldn’t get with other dealsers. Nobody put a gun to your head to buy anywhere. Try looking at the big picture and have fun with the hobby and not try to tear everyone down just because you can buy a coin cheaper someplace else.

November 22, 2010 at 6:04 pm
(79) John says:

I recently bought (over payed) almost 40.00 for a silver eagle dollar. valued at 25.00. Then decided to buy a introductionary coin for 24.50. After waiting well over 3 weeks for my coin to arrive, I finally got fed up and decided to call to find out where my coin was. The lady who answered the phone, already new my last name, which striked me as odd, then she had “no idea” why my order had been canceled 8 days after they received my money.She told me I would receive a call later on in the day about my order. Later I received a call informing me that “they” had ran out, and a refund was in the mail, that I would have to wait 2 to 3 weeks for it. There was no “sorry for your inconvience or anything to make me the consumer feel better, and if i had not called, I would be waiting for a few more weeks, not knowing what was going on.I as left feeling let down and used, the money for a money order the stamp now I will to waste time going to bank cashing my refund, all of this and no coin lol. good job littleton.

December 1, 2010 at 2:51 pm
(80) J.L. DesRochers says:

I have never bought coins, not a collector, however, I have bought stamps from Mystic (owned by the same fokls) and their prices exceed Scott…who is the named expert in pricing. Most collectors use Scott and most advanced collectors would not by from Mystic.

January 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm
(81) Linda P. says:

I bought the presidential coin set of the first 16 presidents for 19.95 with free shipping. I thought that was a fair price since I didn’t want to run around trying to find the ones I missed. I was not aware of the coins-on-approval deal, there were extra coins in the box so I looked through all the paper work and found the information. I decided to look up the value of the coins on the internet and do some research on the company. The coins are valued at less than half the price Littleton wants. I intend to return the coins.

January 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm
(82) BOBG says:

LITTLETON IS A COMPANY WHICH HAS FOUND A PROFITABLE NICHE IN THE COLLECTING AND HAS SERVED THE BUYING PUBLIC HONESTLY. I DON’T THINK I’VE EVER SEEN ANY OF THEIR ADVERTISING THAT I WOULD REGARD AS DISHONEST OR DELIBERATELY MISLEADING. IN THE FEW TRANSACTIONS I’VE HAD WITH THEM, I GOT WHAT I EXPECTED TO GET.

ARE THEIR PRICES QUITE HIGH? YOUBETCHA!!! IF YOU DON’T WANT TO PAY THE PRICE, KEEP YOUR MONEY IN YOUR POCKET! THERE ARE MANY OTHER PLACES TO SPEND YOUR MONEY AND QUIT WHINING ABOUT HOW A COMPANY YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO BUSINESS IS TAKING ADVANTAGE OF POOR LITTLE YOU. GROW UP!!!

CAVEAT EMPTOR IS STILL THE BEST ADVISE.

January 25, 2011 at 8:18 am
(83) Tammy C says:

I quit the coins on approval before it got started. All I ordered or wanted was a catalog and here comes a $20 packet of coins to look at for buying. I got on the phone immediately and told the lady I would pick the coins I wanted to buy and didn’t appreciate someone sending me coins — only to send back. There prices are very high and I can even do better on ebay — can you believe that!!!!! I look at their coins, but am picky at what I will buy because of the prices.

February 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm
(84) joe de stefano says:

I say get over it . If there was not a market for these items then Littleton would go the way other companys have when they no longer appeal to a customer base.
Besides , think of what good deals ou are getting using Littleton and the control company.

Actually I have found that certain offerings are not out of line with what dealers are asking for the like product .

February 11, 2011 at 9:44 am
(85) Tony Kay says:

Just purchased 28 coin U.S. uncirculated 2011 mint coin set from the U.S. mint for $36.90 (with shipping). Littleton charges $45.50 for the same set (plus shipping). Is Littleton coin company getting rich on naive coin collectors?

Leave a Comment


Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.