US Stamps

Mystic Stamp Company celebrates 100 years

Jul 12, 2023, 11 AM
The former Camden, N.Y., post office, where the Mystic Stamp Co. started in 1923. Photograph courtesy of Mystic Stamp Co.

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

It’s an interesting coincidence, but the year 1923 was an important one for philately in the United States. Not only was the first cacheted first-day cover, by Linn’s founder George W. Linn, created on Sept. 1, but it was also the year Lawrence Shaver founded Mystic Stamp Co.

The company started out in one room of the former post office building in Camden, N.Y., and expanded to fill up three floors. A photograph of the old post office building is shown nearby.

“Mystic’s future is to continue bringing the fun of collecting to a wide audience — and staying true to our guiding principles of serving collectors and the hobby,” Mystic Stamp Co. president Donald J. Sundman told Linn’s. “We’re working to use online and digital tools to help collectors in new ways, while still serving those in our traditional channels.

“We believe the world is better off with more collectors because collecting is a fun escape from the stresses of 24-hour news and politics.

“Mystic will continue to be the collector’s helpful friend.”

The company provides a lot of its milestones of the last century on its website.

I want to point out a few interesting items from the site, and there are many.

One of my favorites is learning where the company’s name came from. “During a visit with his friend, wholesale stamp dealer H.E. Harris, Larry Shaver takes Harris’ suggestion to name the growing business ‘Mystic,’ after Boston’s Mystic River,” according to the website.

I was unaware that the business almost folded during the Great Depression when President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared a bank holiday and the company had “more than $2,000 in bank checks” that it was unable to deposit.

In 1935, Sundman’s father, Maynard, started a mail-order stamp business at age 20. This business continued, and Maynard purchased Mystic Stamp Co. from Shaver in 1974. And it was also in 1974 that Donald started management of the company.

Years of supporting the hobby resulted in Donald receiving the American Philatelic Society’s Luff award for outstanding service to the society in 2010.

The support of the APS is also evident because Donald is the top recruiter of new members, responsible for approximately 8,000 collectors joining the society.

In 2016, Mystic Stamp Co. became a “100% Employee-Owned Company to ensure continuous service to our stamp collectors for generations to come.”

Connect with Linn’s Stamp News: 

    Sign up for our newsletter
    Like us on Facebook
    Follow us on Twitter