Beautifully engraved specimen certificate from the AT&T Corp.
printed in 2001. This historic document was printed by the Security-Columbian United States Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of an Alexander Graham Bell. This item has the printed signatures of the Company's Chairman of the Board, Michael Armstrong, and Treasurer, and is over 10 years old.
SBC Communications bought AT&T for $15 billion, and changed the SBC name to AT&T. With the age of computers and the Depository Trust Company, securities no longer need to be in certificate form and can be registered and transferred electronically. This process is called Dematerialization which is the move away from physical certificates to electronic book keeping. Actual stock certificates are slowly being removed and retired from circulation in exchange for electronic recording. ATT is the first major company to no longer issue paper stock certificates. Other companies will follow to save costs, since they are no longer required to issue paper certificates. This item is the last certificate issued by ATT prior to the Comcast transaction.
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.