Beautifully engraved certificate from the Continental Illinois Corporation
issued in 1984. This historic document was printed by the American Banknote Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of a group of employees around a world globe. This item has the printed signatures of the Company’s Chairman and Secretary. Light folds.
One of the most notable features on the landscape of the banking crises of the 1980s
was the crisis involving Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Company (CINB) in
May 1984, which was and still is the largest bank resolution in U.S. history. Although it
took place before the banking crises of the decade gathered strength, the Continental
episode is noteworthy because it focused attention on important banking policy issues of
the period. Among the most significant of these was the effectiveness of supervision: in the
wake of the banks difficulties, some members of Congress questioned whether bank regulators
(in this case, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in particular) could adequately
assess risk within an institution. The economic dislocation such a large bank failure
might bring also engendered increased scrutiny of the supervisory process. In addition,
Continental was a particularly telling example of the problem that bank regulators faced
when attempting to deal with safety-and-soundness issues in an institution that had already
been identified as taking excessive risks but whose performance had not yet been seriously
Continental's size alone made it consequential. Large-bank failures in the 1980s and
early 1990s would prove to have serious consequences for the Bank Insurance Fund (BIF).
As the nations seventh-largest bank, Continental forced regulators to recognize not
only that very large institutions could fail but also that bank regulators needed to find satisfactory
ways to cope with such failures. The methods adopted in the resolution of Continental
gave rise to a great deal of controversy, with the debate centering on whether large
banks like Continental had to be treated differently from smaller institutions.
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.