Beautifully engraved RARE Specimen $1000 Gold Bond certificate from the S.S. Kresge Company
issued in 1930. This historic document was printed by Columbian Bank Note Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of an allegorical woman. This item is over 81 years old. This is the first time we have seen this for sale and we only have one.
Sebastian S. Kresge established the S.S. Kresge Company in 1899 with $8,000 and half ownership of two five and ten cent stores. During the next 25 years he devoted all his energy to the growth and development of that company. By the end of that period, he had developed a very profitable chain of stores. A strong religious upbringing made Sebastian Kresge a thrifty and caring individual with an increasing sense of responsibility to return to society a major portion of his already sizeable wealth. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of his company, he established The Kresge Foundation in 1924 through an initial gift of $1.3 million. By the time of his death, at the age of 99 in 1966, Sebastian Kresge had made additional personal gifts totaling over $60 million.
More than one hundred years ago, Sebastian Spering Kresge opened a modest five-and-dime store in downtown Detroit...and changed the entire landscape of retailing. The store that Kresge built has evolved into an empire of more than 1,500 stores and an Internet presence that reaches millions of customers. The Kmart name has become a symbol of Americana, standing for quality products at low prices.
When Kresge opened his first store in 1899, he sold everything for 5 and 10 cents. The low prices appealed to shoppers and allowed him to expand to 85 stores in 1912, with annual sales of more than $10 million.
War and financial depressions hit America hard over the next decades, but Kresge stores were always there to offer families products at prices they could afford. They also offered people what other businesses at the time could not -- jobs to support their families.
As time went on, prices may have changed, but the business philosophy stayed the same -- offer consumers products they need at prices they can afford -- and they’ll keep coming back.
By the mid-1920s, the S.S. Kresge Company was opening locations that sold items for $1 or less, a precursor to the current discount store. These ''green-front'' stores often were right next to the traditional red-front five-and-dime Kresge stores.
Ten years later in 1937, Kresge opened a store in the country’s first suburban shopping center -- Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.
The retail environment was getting more competitive, and again Kresge blazed the trail for future retailers by launching a newspaper advertising program to entice shoppers to its stores. Those print ads were the precursor to radio promotions, which followed 20 years later, and then TV commercials, which began to air in 1968. Kmart is still the leading print promotional retailer, with weekly circulars reaching millions of households each week.
By the 1950s, it was evident that the company needed to change to continue to be a leader in the growing competitive retail environment. That change came through Harry B. Cunningham, who became Kresge President in 1959. Cunningham had been studying other discount houses and developed a new strategy for the Kresge organization.
Under Cunningham’s leadership, the first Kmart discount department store (using the "K" from Kresge for the name Kmart) opened in 1962 in Garden City, Michigan. Seventeen additional Kmart stores opened that year, leading to corporate sales of more than $483 million that year.
Just four years later in 1966, sales in 162 Kmart stores and 753 Kresge stores topped the $1 billion mark. In 1976, S.S. Kresge made history by opening 271 Kmart stores in one year, becoming the first-ever retailer to launch 17 million square feet of sales space in a single year.
In 1977, nearly 95 percent of S.S. Kresge Company sales were generated by Kmart stores. To reflect this dramatic impact, the company officially changed its name to Kmart Corporation. Ten years later, Kmart sold the remaining Kresge stores to fully concentrate on discount merchandising.
History from Wikipedia.
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.