Beautifully engraved RARE SPECIMEN certificate from the Spenazuma Gold Mining and Milling Company
. This historic document was printed by American Bank Note Co. and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of miners working lode and placer claims. This is the first time we have seen a specimen from this company for sale.
Dr. Richard Flower was a former snake oil doctor who made a fortune until the government started enforcing standards in selling bogus medical related products like snake oil. Dr. Flower was forced to find another scam so he went into the gold mining business.
Flower was from New York and his associates had sold stock for a mine in Arizona. Dr. Flower was said to have chosen the name “Spenazuma” because he wanted easterners to "Spend" their “mazuma” (money) in his enterprise.
The scam was exposed by George H. Smalley, publisher of the Tucson Citizen Newspaper. Results of his six-month investigation were published in the Citizen and in papers across the nation for which he was free lancing. Smalley disclosed that a Dr. Richard Flower from New York and his associates had salted a mine ( made up production numbers ) near Mount Turnbull in the Black Rock mining district of western Graham County, 20 miles west of the community of Geronimo.
Dr. Flower went on to be arrested but jumped bail...
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.