Beautiful engraved RARE specimen certificate from the Frontier Holdings
dated in 1983. This historic document was printed by United States Banknote Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of the company logo. This item has the printed signatures of the Company's President, Glen L. Ryland and Secretary and is over 24 years old.
The merger of Monarch, Challenger, and Arizona Airways created Frontier Airlines, which began serving the public on June 1, 1950. Ray Wilson had been the impetus behind the eventual creation of Frontier. Since his service in the Illinois National Guard, Wilson had been interested in flight. Wilson started a flight school in Denver, Colorado that he relocated to Chickasha, Oklahoma in the 1930s with his partner, Major F. W. Bonfils (business manager of the Denver Post). Prior to World War II he applied to the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), under Ray Wilson, Inc. for permission to operate an airline. He planned for terminals in Denver, Colorado; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Salt Lake City, Utah. After the war, the CAB granted Wilson his application. In June 1946, Wilson changed the name of the company to Monarch Airlines. Wilson experienced financial difficulties and sought an investor. H. S. Darr, a businessman from Chicago, assumed financial control over Monarch in February 1947 and became president in April of the same year. Wilson acted as executive vice president / general manager and continued to run day-to-day operations.
Charles Hirsig, II, an entrepreneur from Laramie, Wyoming, incorporated Summit Airways and received approval from the Civil Aeronautics Board for a route with terminals in Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Billings, Montana. But Hirsig died in 1945 and Summit never commenced operations. George Snyder of Salt Lake City, Utah bought the dormant Civil Aeronautics Board certificate for Hirsig's route and changed the name to Challenger Airlines. The renamed airline began service on May 3, 1947 out of Salt Lake City.
The owners of Arizona Airways originally intended to operate a flight school when they convened in 1942. But by 1945, they decided to raise money for an airline and in 1948 the company applied to the Civil Aeronautics Board for a scheduled route. The Civil Aeronautics Board approved the route with the provision that the company located stable financial backing. By 1950, the three airlines merged in hopes of financial stability due to the ability to offer extensive service. The newly formed Frontier served 40 cities in seven states of the Rocky Mountain and Southwest region of the United States and its service extended from Canada in the north to the Mexican border in the south. The passenger airplane industry proved to be a risky and expensive enterprise. Pioneering airlines such as Frontier created a new infrastructure with the purchase of land, airplanes, construction of buildings, terminals and runways.
In 1947, Monarch Airlines carried 28,000 passengers and by 1951, Frontier had flown 102, 000 passengers. The new airline succeeded because it serviced a part of the country that had been ignored by the rest of the airline industry. The 1950s started with Frontier making most of its money from mail and freight. But gradually passenger revenue started to dominate the company's earnings. To increase the number of passengers, Frontier focused on marketing and advertising. Frontier added vacation destinations that allowed competitive business throughout the year. In 1957, Frontier released Frontier Vacationland a twenty-seven minute color film that highlighted its destinations.
Internally, Frontier experienced problems due to tensions between Darr and Wilson, which had existed since the beginning of their business relationship. When asked in a 1978 interview about the merger of the three airlines that created Frontier, Wilson replied that he knew nothing of the transaction and Darr had never consulted him. Darr, in bad health, promoted C. A. Myhre, former vice-president to president of the Company and instructed Myhre to fire Wilson in December 1954. Darr died in 1955.
During the 1950s, Frontier's profit and loss varied greatly year to year. The Company's increase in revenue could not offset their operating expenses in 1957, leading to their greatest loss of the 1950s. The airline industry, including Frontier, gained a boost when President Eisenhower signed a bill that provided a government guarantee of up to 90% on loans for small airlines. Frontier announced soon thereafter that they would purchase four Fokker F27s and Convair 340 airplanes. These planes carried more passengers than the DC3s which had a maximum load of 24 passengers.
In 1958, L. B. (Bud) Maytag, Jr., heir to the Maytag washing machine family, bought controlling stock from Emil Levin, a Chicago industrialist, at the age of 31. C. A. Myhre resigned his post as president in January of 1959 and Maytag assumed the job. But by 1962, the Goldfield Corporation bought Maytag's majority Frontier shares and Lewis W. Dymond became president. The Goldfield Corporation then sold controlling stock to RKO General, Inc. in 1964 for more than $6.5 million.
In 1965, Frontier announced it would build a five million dollar hangar and office building complex at Stapleton International Airfield in Denver, Colorado, its base of operations. The Civil Aeronautics Board allowed Frontier to convert from a small regional "feeder" airline to a major "trunkline" which would serve 58 cities in 11 states. Frontier continued to grow with the merger of Central Airlines of Fort Worth, Texas in 1967, which allowed the airline to serve 114 cities in 14 states. With the absorption of Central, Frontier expanded their operations complex at Stapleton, purchased new planes and installed an advanced computer reservations system. This contributed to Frontier's loss of $7,384,680 in 1968, the company's worse year yet. Frontier made some large changes in an effort to become profitable. After incurring losses for nine months in a row, the Company tried to sell additional preferred stock, negotiated a ten million dollar bank loan, cancelled orders on seven large jets and laid off 42 pilots. Lewis W. Dymond, President of Frontier, resigned in January, 1969 due to "differences in operating philosophy." At the time he owned the largest number of shares of any individual stockholder. Dymond held his stock and remained on the Board of Directors. E. Paul Burke replaced Dymond. Burke blamed the airline's financial crisis on the industry-wide problem of an increase in labor costs with heavy debt due to the purchase of new jets and a decline in revenue per miles flown. The Civil Aeronautics Board allowed an increase in airfares to assist the ailing industry.
In 1971, Alvin L. Feldman, a former engineer with management experience in nuclear rockets and jets, became president. By 1972, the airline announced a net income of $7,119,000, a dramatic change from the low in 1968. Feldman attributed the turn around to "intensive marketing, cost control and improvement in the economy of the area served by Frontier." Throughout the 1970s, Feldman continued to make Frontier a profitable airline.
The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 drastically changed the airline industry. Since the Civil Aeronautics Board no longer played a role in choosing airlines' routes, fierce competition among airlines for passengers produced cut-rate fares that benefited the consumer, but quickly shut down airlines unable to lower their costs and maintain low rates.
Feldman left in 1980 to become President of Continental Airlines. In his place, Glen L. Ryland took over. Ryland faced rising costs in fuel, a recession and heightened competition due to deregulation. To counteract the slow travel periods and to become more competitive in the airline industry, Ryland created Frontier Holdings, Inc. in 1982. This new company had four divisions: The Frontier Development Group, which entered the mail order business; Frontier Horizon, which provided cut-rate service by using non-union labor; Frontier Leaseco, which handled the leasing and purchasing of aircraft and large equipment; and Frontier Services, which ran support services related to aviation and travel.
The creation of Frontier Horizon outraged Frontier employees who disliked Frontier Horizon's hiring of non-union labor. They feared that the low-cost airline would take away routes from the original Frontier and eventually drive it out of business. Skybus, Inc. purchased Frontier Horizon in 1984 and Frontier phased out the other unprofitable divisions throughout 1984 and 1985.
In 1983, Continental Airlines filed for bankruptcy, renegotiated union contracts and became a low cost carrier with cut-rate fares out of Denver. Additionally, United Airlines entered the Denver market and started to take a substantial portion of business away from Frontier. By the end of 1983, Frontier had a net loss of $13.8 million. The airline continued to lose money and in November 1984, Ryland resigned under pressure from the board. Hank Lund, former President of Frontier Horizon, replaced him and wanted to return to the business of running "a successful airline." But Lund left the company after RKO General decided to sell the airline. Joseph R. O'Gorman became the next President.
In December 1984, the Frontier Employee Coalition, a group that represented Frontier's union employees, started to negotiate an employee stock ownership plan. In 1985, the Coalition in conjunction with a group of investment and development firms, offered $222.4 million to buy the airline. Texas Air Corporation out bid the Coalition, but at the last minute People Express, Inc., a low cost carrier from the east coast, bought the airline. People Express appointed Larry Martin as President and promised that Frontier would remain an independent subsidiary with its union structure intact until at least 1990. But by 1986, People Express tried to sell Frontier after the company continued to lose $10 million a month for the first half of the year. People Express shut down Frontier on August 25, 1986, and 3,700 employees in Colorado and 4,700 nationwide lost jobs. Other airlines offered jobs to Frontier employees as competitor airlines grew to fill the gaps left by Frontier's closure.
Frontier filed for bankruptcy on August 29, 1986 after an unsuccessful attempt to sell the working airline to United. Instead, Continental (owned by Texas Air Corp.) purchased Frontier's assets and in December 1986, Frontier liquidated what remained with a sale at a hangar in Stapleton Airport. Todd Cole presided over Frontier's final years in bankruptcy that lasted from 1986 to 1998
History from Denver Public Library EAD Project and OldCompany.com.
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.