Beautifully engraved Specimen Gold Bond Certificate from Continental Gas & Electric Corporation
dated 1928. This historic document was printed by Columbian Bank Note Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of an allegorical woman with a dam and power plant in the background. This item is over 78 years old and has over 60 coupons attached on the right side.
In 1912, Cyrus Stephen Eaton organized the Continental Gas & Electric, one of the earliest of public utility holding companies.
Bonds were Payable in Gold or Gold Coin to give the impression that they were a more secure investment. In reality, they were not more secure since there wasn't any gold set aside as collateral for these bonds.
On April 5, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Presidential Executive Order 6102 which invoked his authority to make it unlawful to own or hold gold coins, gold bullion, or gold certificates. The export of Gold for purposes of payment was also outlawed, except under license from the Treasury.
On January 30, 1934, the Gold Reserve Act became law which made the ownership of gold illegal except for coins of numismatic value. As a result of this law, Bonds were no longer allowed to be Payable in Gold.
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 over the past several years.