Maynard Sundman Lecture Series

The Smithsonian National Postal Museum's Maynard Sundman Lecture Series was established in 2002 through a donation by his sons, David and Donald. The Sundman lectures feature talks by authors and expert philatelists on stamps and stamp collecting.

18th Annual Maynard Sundman Lecture

Tuesday, December 7, 2021 at 4 pm EST. Online, via Zoom

The Origins, Birth and International Reach of the Postage Stamp through 1847
James L. Grimwood-Taylor, M.A., R. D. P.

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James L. Grimwood-Taylor

The origins of the postage stamp can be traced to a time long before the 19th century. The talk – illustrated with a selection of items from Grimwood-Taylor’s collections – briefly covered the origins of writing and of postal rates, before tracing the origins of postage stamps from their roots in the very first (Revenue) stamps of the 17th century. The ancient Sumerians, the Italian merchants of the 14th to 16th centuries, the 17th-century Anglo-Dutch revenue authorities, and the 18th-century Colonial American local Revenue stamps were all included. The explosion of postal rates in the 18th and 19th centuries, fueled by the wartime-raising of taxes in Britain and its American colonies, and later the United States, lasted long after peace was declared. It led reformers, such as Rowland Hill and others, to campaign for the introduction of cheap postage and to study how such a dramatic change could be made financially and administratively viable; they turned for an answer to revenue stamps for a postage prepayment model. The talk concluded with a look at First Issue covers of the U.S., Switzerland, Brazil, Finland, Indonesia, Russia, and Trinidad in order to take the story up to July 1847.

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Maynard Sundman

Maynard Sundman

Maynard Sundman's love of stamp collecting began in 1927. As a child, Maynard was fascinated by these tiny bits of paper and all the history and culture they held.

At 19, Maynard started a mail-order stamp business with $400 he had saved, operating out of his parents' home in Connecticut. After serving in WWII, he founded his second firm, Littleton Stamp Company, with his wife, Fannie Kasper Sundman.

The company branched into coins for collectors in the 1950s. In 1974, the Sundman family purchased Mystic Stamp Company of Camden, New York. Maynard's son Donald is president and his son David, is President of Littleton Coin Company in Littleton, New Hampshire.

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The National Postal Museum gratefully acknowledges the continued support of the Mystic Stamp Company.