Beautifully engraved RARE SPECIMEN certificate from the American - La France Fire Engine Company
dated 1904. This historic document was printed by the American Banknote Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of a horse driven fire engine and is over 117 years old. We have only seen a few of these highly desirable certificates. $40 coupons attached on right side.
In 1900, the same people who owned the American Fire Engine Company, assembled a second group of fire engine manufacturers (including LaFrance Fire Engine Company of Elmira, NY), and named this new firm the International Fire Engine Company. On October 1, 1903, the directors of American and International proposed merging those two companies, and the merger was completed in early 1904. The new company was dubbed the American-LaFrance Fire Engine Company, and was headquarterd at the old LaFrance plant in Elmira, NY.
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.