The Bottom Line
- Coins are mailed right to your home.
- You get to see the coins before you buy them.
- Littleton's coin grading is accurate, even conservative (in your favor.)
- You need never worry about a fake or altered coin from Littleton.
- They have first-class customer service.
- Littleton's coin prices are very high!
- Littleton Coin was founded by Maynard and Fannie Sundman in 1945 in Littleton, NH.
- The firm is headed today by Maynard's son, David Sundman, who is a member of the ANA and PNG.
- Littleton employs 370 people at its 85,000 sq. ft. corporate headquarters.
- Littleton is best-known for their approval service, but they also sell via catalogs and the Web, and they buy collections.
Guide Review - Review of Littleton Coin Company
Littleton Coin Company is many collectors' first foray into the coin hobby. Littleton advertises extensively outside the traditional coin collecting channels, so they deserve credit for bringing a lot of new collectors into the fold. Their business model is called the "approval service." Typically, you buy an introductory offer at a great price, with the condition that you agree to look at additional coins on approval. Littleton will send you about $50 (retail value) worth of coins, and you can buy all, some, or none of them. Once you return what you don't want and pay for the rest, you'll get your next set of approvals. After a few months, they'll raise your credit limit. During my test buys with Littleton, my credit limit reached $200 over about 14 months worth of buying - before they cut me off because I wasn't buying enough!
Littleton's coin grading is conservative, even generic. For example, all of the Uncirculated coins I received from them were graded MS-60, and all the Proofs were graded PR-63. But these were minimum grades; the coins were often higher. The circulated grades were similarly generic. I never saw any coin from Littleton that was over-graded.
Littleton's business model is an expensive one to run. They employ 370 people at their 85,000 square foot facility, and yet they do an astonishing job of personalizing their service. Each approval coin order is hand-picked especially for you, based on the particular program you're in and what you tell them you'd like to receive. They track everything they send, so you won't get duplicates next year (unless you ask for them.) This costs a lot of money to do, though, and Littleton's prices reflect this reality. In fact, the one and only complaint I have about Littleton is their coin prices - you will pay two to three times normal retail for Littleton's fine service.