Beautifully engraved Specimen Certificate from the Cosmopolitan Power Company
printed around 1900. This historic document was printed by Western Bank Note Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of lady holding power lines in her hand.
The Cosmopolitan Power Company was a corporation organized under the laws of the state of New Jersey on April 30, 1900, for the purpose of dealing in engines, machines, etc. By its charter it had power to do business in any state or territory of the United States. While it had its principal office in the state of New Jersey, located under the terms of its certificate of incorporation, it had no property in that state, and conducted its business in the state of Illinois.
The capital stock of the corporation on January 1, 1902, was forty millions of dollars, of which there was ten millions outstanding. On May 13, 1902, its capital stock, pursuant to the laws of New Jersey, was reduced to $2,500,000. The company was adjudicated a bankrupt on April 23, 1903, upon an involuntary petition filed in the district court for the northern district of Illinois.
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.