Fotomat Corporation - New York

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Beautifully engraved specimen stock certificate from the Fotomat Corporation. This historic document was printed by the Jeffries Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of woman with a city in the background. This item has the signatures of the Company’s Chairman and Secretary.

Fotomat was an American retail chain of photo development drive-through kiosks located primarily in shopping center parking lots. Fotomat Corporation was founded by Preston Fleet in San Diego, California, in the 1960s, with the first kiosk opening in Point Loma, California, in 1965. Fotomat became a public company in 1971 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 1977. At its peak around 1980, there were over 4,000 Fotomats throughout the United States, primarily in suburban areas.  

Fotomats were distinctive for their pyramid-shaped gold-colored roofs and signs with blue and red lettering. Usually positioned in a large parking area such as a supermarket or strip mall, the Fotomat huts required a minimal amount of land and were able to accommodate cars driving up to drop off or pick up film.[2] Fotomat sold Kodak and Fotomat brand film, as well as other photography-related products, and offered overnight photo finishing. Many people assumed Fotomat was owned by Kodak, because of the yellow roofs and font similar to Kodak packaging. Fotomat also made filmstrips (35mm single frame) for school, when teachers wanted to have a custom captioned or sound filmstrip made, the Teacher could use the Fotomat filmstrip development service, but teachers would have to take the pictures on blank 35mm single frame film and record the soundtrack on a cassette tape, then they would take them to the Fotomat booth, and the film and cassette tape would be sent to the Fotomat Lab to be produced.

<b>About Specimen Certificates</b>

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.

History from Wikipedia and RM Smythe.