Beautifully engraved RARE SPECIMEN certificate from the Sears, Roebuck and Co.
This historic document was printed by the American Banknote Company in 1920 and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of a Sears building. This item is
over 95 years old and the first time we have seen one.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. is a broadline retailer with significant service and credit businesses. In 2001, the company's annual revenue was more than $41 billion. The company offers its wide range of apparel, home and automotive products and services to families in the U.S. through Sears stores nationwide, including approximately 870 full-line stores.
1886 -- Richard Sears starts selling watches to supplement his income as station agent at North Redwood, Minn.
1887 -- Sears settles in the company's first Chicago location and hires a watchmaker named Alvah C. Roebuck.
1888 -- Date of the earliest catalog featuring only watches and jewelry.
1893 -- Corporate name becomes Sears, Roebuck and Co.
1896 -- First large general catalog.
1911 -- Sears establishes testing laboratory.
1916 -- Savings and Profit Sharing Fund of Sears Employees is established.
1925 -- First Sears retail store opens in catalog center on Chicago's west side.
1927 -- Sears launches the Craftsman® and Kenmore® brands.
1931 -- Allstate Insurance Co. established.
1945 -- Sears sales exceed $1 billion.
1953 -- Simpsons-Sears, Ltd. established in Canada.
1973 -- Sears moves its national headquarters to Sears Tower.
1981 -- Sears acquires Dean Witter Reynolds Organization and Coldwell, Banker & Company.
1985 -- Discover Card introduced nationally.
1986 -- Sears celebrates its 100th anniversary.
1993 -- Sears sells (IPO) 20 percent of Dean Witter shares to public, spins-off remaining shares to shareholders. New company called Dean Witter, Discover & Co.
1993 -- Sears sells 20 percent of Allstate to public.
1993 -- Sears sells Coldwell Banker Residential Services and Sears Mortgage Banking Group.
1993 -- Sears introduces popular "Come see the softer side of Sears" advertising campaign.
1995 -- Sears appoints Arthur C. Martinez as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.
1996 -- Sears launches the KidVantage Program.
1997 -- Sears opens The Great Indoors stores.
1997 -- Sears makes Craftsman® tools available on-line.
1997 -- Sears becomes a founding sponsor of the Women’s National Basketball Association.
1998 -- Sears launches Wishbook.com.
1999 -- Sears introduces "The Good Life at a Great Price" advertising campaign.
1999 -- Sears launches Sears.com.
2000 -- Sears appoints Alan Lacy as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.
2001 -- Sears returns to downtown Chicago, opening a new flagship store on State Street.
History from company's 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.