Firstmark Corporation (pyramid of debt scam) - Delaware

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Beautiful engraved specimen certificate from the Firstmark Corporation dated in ???. This historic document was printed by Jeffries Banknote Corporation and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of the company name. This item has the printed signatures of the Company's President and Secretary. Firstmark Corporation was a holding company whose subsidiaries engaged in various financial services. Beginning in the mid-1980s, the financially shaky Firstmark allegedly sought to conceal its condition by increasing the margin between the quantity of notes sold to investors and those redeemed by investors. Firstmark Corporation was alleged to have deceived investors into purchasing new notes, rolling over current notes or otherwise refraining from redeeming their notes. The result was an ever-growing pyramid of debt that forced Firstmark into bankruptcy in 1988.
About Specimens 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.