Beautiful engraved specimen certificate from the Reebok International Ltd
printed in 1990. This historic document was printed by United States Banknote Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of the company's name and a woman holding a globe. This item has the printed signatures of the Company's President and Chief Financial Officer.
Reebok was founded in 1895, in Bolton, Lancashire by Joseph William Foster under a company called J.W. Foster and Sons Limited. The family-owned business proudly made the running shoes worn in the 1924 Summer Olympics by the athletes, Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell celebrated in the film Chariots of Fire.
In 1958, two of the founder's grandsons Jeffrey and Joseph left the family business and started a rival company that came to be known as Reebok. In 1979, Paul Fireman, a partner in an outdoor sporting goods distributorship, spotted Reebok shoes at an international trade show. He negotiated for the North American distribution license and introduced three running shoes in the United States that year. At $60, they were the most expensive running shoes on the market.
The firm was sold to a group of investors in 1984, led by R. Stephen Rubin of Pentland Industries and Paul Fireman, who established a holding company based in the UK, Limelight Limited, renamed Reebok International Limited after the completion of the sale by Joseph Foster. This company subsequently bought the J.W. Foster limited company from Mr. Foster, to allow it to use the Foster Family history (after 1939). Joe Foster was retained by Rubin and Fireman to expand the companies operations outside the USA, which he did until 1990.
1985 Freestyle and Ex-O-Fit hi-tops advertisementReebok surged in popularity in 1982 after the introduction of the Freestyle athletic shoe, which was specifically designed for women and came out when the aerobics fitness craze started. Not only was the Reebok Freestyle popular as athletic wear, but also on the streets as casual wear because of its comfort and styling. As a result the Reebok Freestyle became an icon of the 1980s fashion scene with hi-top versions (including two velcro straps at the top) and colors including white, black, red, yellow, and blue. Reebok continues to produce the Freestyle to this day as it is popular with cheerleading, aerobic dancing, the gym, and dedicated consumers.
Following the heels of the Freestyle success, Reebok also introduced a popular athletic shoe for men, called the Ex-O-Fit. Similar to the Freestyle, it came in low-top and hi-top versions; however, unlike the Freestyle hi-top with two velcro closure straps, the Ex-O-Fit only had one strap. One of the designers of this early footwear was the founder's son, David Foster.
In the late-1980s, the company introduced the Reebok Pump line, which used an air bladder, inflated by means of a small pump integrated into the tongue of the shoe, to hold tightly to the wearer's ankle. This allowed for more aggressive maneuvering without injury, but also became a popular fashion element. Around 1993 they introduced an air transfer system which was incorporated into the sole of the trainer.
In the past, Reebok had an association with outsourcing through sweatshops, but today it is firmly committed to human rights. In April 2004, Reebok's footwear division became the first company to be accredited by the Fair Labor Association. In 2004, Reebok also became a founding member of the Fair Factories Clearinghouse, a non profit dedicated to improving worker conditions across the apparel industry.
The company holds exclusive rights to manufacture and market both authentic and replica uniform jerseys and sideline apparel of the teams of the National Football League since 2002, the National Basketball Association from 2004 through 2006, the Canadian Football League since 2004, and is the official shoe supplier to the NFL, NBA, Scripophily.com and Major League Baseball. In addition Reebok acquired official National Hockey League sponsor CCM in 2004, and is now manufacturing ice hockey equipment under the CCM and Rbk brands, and has signed popular young stars Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin to endorsement deals (Crosby for Rbk, Ovechkin for CCM). Reebok is also endorsed by Venus Williams, Amelie Mauresmo, Nicole Vaidisova, Allen Iverson, Amir Khan and was endorsed by Andy Roddick until 2005, when he departed for Lacoste.
It maintains its relationship with its origins in England through a long-term sponsorship deal with Bolton Wanderers, a Premiership football club. When the team moved to a brand new ground in the late-1990s, their new home was named the Reebok Stadium. In 2003, Reebok secured a deal with English Premiership clubs West Ham United and Manchester City. The deal with Manchester City alone was worth almost £5m over four years . Then in 2005, another Premiership team Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League, their fifth, whilst wearing Reebok kit. Liverpool moved to adidas in 2006.
In 2005, Reebok also signed an exclusive agreement to design and supply all 8 team home and away strips for the new Australian A-League competition. Although not an expensive deal, this partnership is paying huge dividends for Reebok, due to the growing popularity of football and the league in the area. An estimated 125,000 jerseys have been sold in Australia,a record for a single league's sales in a year for a manufacturer eg. Adidas, Nike, Reebok etc. .
In rugby union, Reebok sponsors the Wales national team, the last team to date to win a Grand Slam in the Six Nations Championship, and the Tasman Makos in New Zealand's domestic competition, the Air New Zealand Cup. Reebok also sponsors four teams in the Australian Football League, those being the Fremantle Football Club, the Kangaroos Football Club, the Port Adelaide Football Club and the Richmond Football Club, the latter two beginning their association from the 2007 season. From 2005, Reebok has supplied the Melbourne Storm rugby league club's kits and other merchandise for the team.
On April 12, 2006, Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry signed a deal to join the "I Am What I Am" campaign on August 1, 2006. Ryan Giggs has also done "I Am What I Am" commercials. Also, on August 1 2006, Andriy Shevchenko started his endorsement deal with the company. 
The company also holds sponsorships with Chivas de Guadalajara, a famous Mexican football club, and Brazilian clubs Internacional and São Paulo FC, current and former champions of the FIFA Club World Championship.
Several international cricketers, such as Indian captain Rahul Dravid, Indian batsmen VVS Laxman and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and Chris Gayle of the West Indies, endorse Reebok. They are supplied with Reebok cricket shoes, as well as with cricket bats marked with the Reebok brand in the cases of Dhoni, Laxman, and Gayle. In fact, these bats are not actually made by Reebok.
Rapper Jay-Z became the first non-athlete to get a signature shoe from Reebok. The "S. Carter Collection by Rbk" was launched in November 21, 2003 and the "S. Carter" sneaker became the fastest selling shoe in the company history. Later Reebok made a deal with rapper 50 Cent to release a line of G-Unit sneakers and artists like Nelly and Miri Ben-Ari have become spokespersons for the company.
On March 23, 2006, Reebok recalled 300,000 charm bracelets that contained extremely high levels of lead. The bracelet has a heart pendant at the end that is printed with the name "Reebok." It allegedly caused the lead poisoning death of a 4-year-old child who swallowed it.
In August 2005, one of the company's largest rivals, Adidas, announced that it would acquire Reebok for $8 billion. The deal shadowed Nike's purchase of Converse in 2003. The acquisition would increase Adidas' market share in North America and allow it to further compete with the world's biggest maker of sports apparel, Nike. The deal was completed in January of 2006.
On April 20th, 2006, The Sun Newspaper reported that Reebok had inked football megastar Thierry Henry. Since then Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko has Signed up to the 'I am What I am' campaign along with Henry.
In August 2006 Reggie Bush of the New Orleans Saints was fined $10,000 for wearing Adidas shoes during a preseason NFL game versus the Tennessee Titans. The NFL only allows players to wear Under Armour, Nike or Reebok shoes during games. 
In October 2006 Reebok launches its first weblog Reebok I am what I am.
In late 2006, a court case began between Liverpool FC and Reebok. Reebok claimed that Liverpool cost them £7M because of a delay in confirming the renewal of the Carlsberg sponsorship deal, which meant a delay in releasing the away shirt for 2005/06 (the last that Reebok would make for them)
This article or section may contain original research or unattributed claims.
Please help Wikipedia by adding references. See the talk page for details.
The kit that was eventually released was very similar to the away kit for 2003/04, and this is more likely the cause of any loss of revenue, as the kit was still released in adequate time for the new season.
History from Wikipedia and OldCompanyResearch.com.
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 over the past several years.