Beautifully engraved SPECIMEN certificate from the General Time Corporation
. This historic document was printed by the American Bank Note Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of an allegorical woman flying on a wheel with wings while holding a torch. This item has the printed signatures of the Company's President and Secretary.
In 1930, Western Clock Company was merged with Seth Thomas Clock Company as “General Time Corporation”, and in 1936 it was renamed the Westclox Division of General Time Corp. In 1968, General Time was acquired by Talley industries, and in 1988, General Time was bought from Talley Industries by the current management. In 2001, General Time declared bankruptcy, and the trademarks Westclox and Big Ben were acquired by Salton, Inc.
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.