Beautifully engraved specimen certificate from First National Stores, Inc.
This historic document was printed by the Republic Banknote Company in 1925 and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of an eagle with a city in the background.
The Ginter Company was incorporated in 1917. It changed its name
to First National Stores, Inc. in 1925 when it was consolidated with the
John T. Connor Company and O'Keeffe's, Inc.
Finast was a retail supermarket brand that existed in the northeastern United States until being absorbed by Edwards and its Dutch parent Royal Ahold in the mid-1990s. Its name was an acronym for "First National Stores Inc." Even after the store name was shortened, many still referred to the store as "The First National". Finast was originally based in Somerville, Massachusetts, prior to their switch over to the Edwards name. The base was then moved to Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
The stores not absorbed into Edwards, mostly in the Cleveland, Ohio metropolitan area, retained the Finast name through the end of the decade, when Ahold remodeled them into Tops Friendly Markets, its Buffalo, New York-based unit. Ahold continued to use the "Finast" name on its private-label products in its other grocery chains, including Giant, after retiring the Finast banner, but it phased out that name in favor of products matching each chain's name.
The First National chain is referred to in H.P. Lovecraft's classic 1936 novella The Shadow Over Innsmouth, as Lovecraft mentions that a local branch in that chain is one the few connections Innsmouth has with the outside world.
About Specimen Certificates
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 were 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 has grown in popularity over the past several years.