Beautifully engraved Specimen Gold Bond Certificate from the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad
printed in 1890. This historic document was printed by the Homer Lee Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of a woman and a train.
The East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad Company was created in Tennessee (1869) through the consolidation of the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad Company with the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad Company. It was sold under foreclosure (1886) and reorganized as the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railway Company. The East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railway Company was controlled by the Richmond Terminal Company from 1887 to 1892 and purchased by the Southern Railway Company in 1896. The line is now part of the Norfolk Southern.
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.