Beautifully engraved RARE SPECIMEN certificate from the Arden Farms Co.
This historic document was printed by the American Banknote Company in 1940 and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of a boy wearing an Arden cap. This item has the printed signatures of the Company’s President and Secretary. This is the first time we have had this certificate for sale.
Arden Farms Company was incorporated in California in 1940. The company’s history can be dated back to 1933, when Western Dairies, Inc , a small California dairy operation that gradually expanded its geographic scope and product line to become a grocery retailer known as the Arden Farm Company beginning in 1940.
Arden Farms Co. became Arden Mayfair, and then the Arden Group. Arden Group, Inc., through its subsidiary, Arden-Mayfair, operates 18 supermarkets in southern California under the name Gelson's and two under under the name Mayfair.
In the October of 1964, Arden Farms acquired the Mayfair Markets, a chain of supermarkets in Los Angeles, thus becoming Arden-Mayfair, Inc., which later became a subsidiary of the Arden Group. Around the same time, Arden also acquired a small chain of supermarkets from the Gelson Brothers. The new company enjoyed sales of $455 million in 1965.
In January 1971, TelAutograph Corporation, a manufacturer of message transmission equipment, announced that it was going to purchase 85,000 shares of Arden-Mayfair, bringing its stake to 300,900 shares in all and making it the largest single Arden-Mayfair shareholder. In July 1971 TelAutograph and Arden-Mayfair agreed to merge the two companies. However, Arden-Mayfair's financial performance was disappointing in the decade of the 1970s as the company failed to make any good profit. Arden-Mayfair's financial woes grew considerably in 1976 with a stockholder revolt led by the Louart Corporation, the major shareholder in the company, with 18 percent of Arden-Mayfair stock. In July 1977 the Arden-Mayfair board announced a restructuring plan that would create a brand new company, with Arden-Mayfair as its subsidiary. The new company that was formed was known as the Arden Group. Arden Group, Inc., through its subsidiary, Arden-Mayfair, operates 18 supermarkets in southern California under the name Gelson's and two under the name Mayfair. Gelson's upscale stores carry traditional grocery items, as well as imported foods and unusual deli selections. Most of these stores also feature coffee bars, fresh pizza, and bakeries. Arden Farms’ Mayfair Markets stores offer a more limited selection of goods. Chairman, president, and CEO Bernard Briskin controls nearly 60% of the company stock.
History from Wikipedia and OldCompanyResearch.com (old stock certificate research service).
Specimen Certificates are actual certificates that have never been issued. They were usually kept by the printers in their permanent archives as their only example of a particular certificate. Sometimes you will see a hand stamp on the certificate that says "Do not remove from file".
Specimens were also used to show prospective clients different types of certificate designs that were available. Specimen certificates are usually much scarcer than issued certificates. In fact, many times they are the only way to get a certificate for a particular company because the issued certificates were redeemed and destroyed. In a few instances, Specimen certificates we made for a company but were never used because a different design was chosen by the company.
These certificates are normally stamped "Specimen" or they have small holes spelling the word specimen. Most of the time they don't have a serial number, or they have a serial number of 00000. This is an exciting sector of the hobby that grown in popularity and realized nice appreciation in value over the past several years.