American Sumatra Tobacco Company - Decatur County, Georgia

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Beautifully engraved Specimen certificate from the American Sumatra Tobacco Company printed in the 1920's. This historic document was printed by American Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of an eagle. In 1891, A. Cohn & Company purchased 14,000 acres for tobacco cultivation and named it Amsterdam. At that time, the property was the largest tobacco plantation in the world, under one ownership. In 1907, seven of the larger growers and packers in the area merged to form the American Sumatra Tobacco Company, with a division in Amsterdam. This was a company town with offices, railroad, commissaries, post office, packing houses and employee houses. At its peak, the town boasted a population of 450. The Imperial Tobacco Company bought the American Sumatra Tobacco Company in 1955 and operated it until 1965 when they discontinued growing tobacco. In 1967 the land was sold to the Coastal Lumber Company.
About Specimen Certificates 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 were 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 has grown in popularity over the past several years.