Beautifully engraved certificate from InterNorth, Inc.
issued in 1986. This historic document was printed by the Security-Columbian United States Banknote Company and has an ornate side border with a vignette of an allegorical man and woman. This item has the printed signatures of the Company’s Chairman of the Board, Ken Lay and Corporate Secretary, and is over 33 years old. This was a transitions certificate with "Name Changed to Enron Corp." stamped in red in the face.
InterNorth Inc. was a very large energy company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, in the United States, specializing in natural gas pipelines but also a force in the plastics industry, coal and petroleum exploration and production. They operated the largest natural gas pipeline in North America. It was formed in 1979 as a holding company for Northern Natural Gas Company, founded in 1930.
Later that year, the company launched an unsolicited takeover bid for Crouse-Hinds Company, which wound up being acquired by Cooper Industries the following year. The company continued to pursue expansion opportunities and, in 1985, reached a deal, seen by some as overpriced, to acquire the smaller competitor Houston Natural Gas (HNG) Company. Internorth was an arbitrage target and acquired HNG as a poison pill. Regardless it was still a target of Irwin Jacobs of Minneapolis. Ken Lay "borrowed" over $400,000,000.00 from the Employee Stock Ownership Program to buy back Jacobs stock so he could keep his job and cover other financial losses of Enron as early as 1987. Lay then froze the ESOP for seven years except for retirement or death benefits.
This proved a "wag-the-dog" transaction: the company soon was headquartered in Houston and run by HNG's CEO, Kenneth Lay, who renamed the company Enron Corporation. Initially Mr. Lay and his secretary, Nancy McNeil picked the name Enteron which is a greek term for digestive system or intestine. The markets reacted with hilarity and a month later he changed the name again to ENRON costing many millions in advertising, signage, stationary and contracts.
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.