Beautifully engraved SPECIMEN certificate from the Famous Players Canadian Corporation, Limited
. This historic document was printed by the Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of 2 women on both sides of a young girl holding a tourch in each hand. This item has the printed signatures of the Company's President and Secretary.
The history of the motion picture industry in Canada began in 1906 with the opening of Jule and Jay J. Allen's first photoplay house, a storeroom in Brantford, Ontario. By 1920, Toronto had one hundred moving picture houses and three legitimate theatres, making the city, in the words of W. A Brady, a prominent New York producer "the best amusement town on the continent." It was that same year that the Famous Players Canadian Corporation was founded, and set out to erect forty-five new theatres. The had a twenty-year franchise from Famous Players-Lasky, the largest movie producers in the world at the time, the managing director of the company, N.L. Nathanson, located his theatres primarily in areas of the city that were about to, or had recently become suburbs.
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.