Updated: "We've hired 200 more people since the new owners came in" in 2006, says Gwynne Gorr, chief marketing officer at Franklin Mint, now based at Whitelands in Exton. The new owners are to New York investor Moshe Malamud, emaimai.com collectibles-auction site founder Dr. Steven Sisskind, and Los Angeles TV producer David Salzman.
The company is getting back to its roots in the coin business, including a gold-plated edition of the U.S. Mint's new presidential dollar coin series, alongside the familiar Franklin Mint offerings of die-cast models, dolls, jewelry and sculpture. "We're in expansion mode," Gorr added. "Internet, direct mail, print media. We're frequently on QVC." Gorr joined Franklin Mint back in 1986.
The ex-owners of the former Wawa, Delaware County-based Franklin Mint, California investor and plantation owner Stewart Resnick and especially his wife and partner, Main Line native Lynda Harris Resnick, are the subjects of a recent New Yorker magazine profile (summary here.)
Writer Amanda Fortini shows Mrs. Resnick (her father, Jack Harris, in 1957 produced The Blob, the best-known horror movie filmed in Phoenixville to date) energetically promoting the couple's California pomegranate juice. They also sell water (Fiji) and flowers (Teleflora).
The article credits her with boosting Wawa-based Franklin Mint (started by QVC founder Joe Segel in the early 1960s) from a commemorative-coin maker to a purveyor of collectible "kitsch" that grossed nearly $1 billion in 2000. (The mint actually began diversifying under Segel's successor, Charles Andes, after the coin market crashed.)
The article didn't mention the decline of the business toward the end of its 20-year ownership by the Resnicks and their Roll International Corp.
The Resnicks sold Franklin Mint, which once employed 2,000 people, operated 30 retail stores, and fielded its own credit union, for an undisclosed sum to Malamud, Sisskind and Salzman.
The new owners, who also control New York's Morgan Mint (Sisskind is CEO of both), moved out of the 400,000-square-foot complex, which remains mostly vacant, and a subject of redevelopment proposals (an office complex? a mixed-use development?).