Beautifully engraved SPECIMEN certificate from the Huntington Hotel Company
dated 1936. This historic document was printed by the Jeffries Banknote Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of a full-scale view of the Huntington Hotel property. This item is
over 67 years old. This is the only example of this certificate we have seen.
As a famed Pasadena landmark for more than 95 years, the Huntington Hotel has provided memories for millions of guests in a tradition of grace and elegance. Originally constructed in 1906, the hotel was rebuilt and renovated to its original quality and splendor and reopened as The Ritz-Carlton, Huntington Hotel in March 1991. In April 1998, the hotel was renamed The Ritz-Carlton, Huntington Hotel & Spa. Situated on 23 acres in the San Gabriel Mountain foothills, the 392-room property is located in charming Pasadena, just 15 minutes from downtown Los Angeles.
The hotel originally opened in February 1907 as the Hotel Wentworth, partially completed with a temporary roof about the fourth floor. Heavy rains fell during the hotel's first season, driving guests to alternate resort areas. Rebuilding San Francisco after its devastating earthquake and fires drained construction workers from Southern California, delaying the property's completion. Financial problems and a disappointing first season forced the Hotel Wentworth to close its door indefinitely.
Railroad tycoon and art collector Henry Huntington purchased the Hotel Wentworth in 1911, renaming it the Huntington Hotel. Huntington hired prominent Los Angeles architect Myron Hunt to redesign the main building and grounds. It reopened in 1914, transformed into a beautiful winter resort.
The 1920s were a prosperous time for the hotel, as Midwestern and Eastern entrepreneurs discovered California's warm winter climate and the elegant Huntington. Celebrated writers, entertainers, educators, religious and political leaders, royalty, and sports personalities joined businessmen in their discovery of the elegant resort hotel.
The hotel's reputation for fine service began with long-time general manager and later hotel owner Stephen W. Royce. His success was due to his personal acquaintance with each winter guest and special attention to their needs. Formal dinners were held each evening with dancing in the elegant Georgian Ballroom. By 1926, the hotel's success prompted Royce to open the property year-round. At this time, California's first Olympic-sized swimming pool was added as a special attraction for summer guests.
The "golden years" ended with the stock market crash and the Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s. However, by the end of the 1930s, the hotel was back on solid ground. When World War II began, all reservations were cancelled and the hotel was rented to the Army for $3,000 a month. Following the war, the Huntington's fortune turned upwards once again.
In 1954, Stephen Royce sold the hotel to the Sheraton Corporation, remaining as general manager until his retirement in 1969. The hotel continued operating until 1985 when it was forced to close because of its inability to meet earthquake structural standards.
After a two and a half year major renovation, the hotel reopened in March 1991 as The Ritz-Carlton, Huntington Hotel, combining the hotel's tradition of grace and elegance with The Ritz-Carlton reputation for quality service.
History from Ritz Carlton Press information.
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.