Beautiful engraved specimen certificate from the Kurzweil Applied Intelligence, Inc
dated in 1996. This historic document was printed by United States Bank Note Company 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, Thomas Brew and Secretary and is over 18 years old.
Kurzweil Applied Intelligence Inc. made automated speech-recognition systems. In 1997, Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products N.V. agreed to acquire Kurzweil Applied Intelligence Inc for $53 million in cash and stock.
Lernout & Hauspie was founded in 1987 by Jo Lernout and Pol Hauspie. After a difficult start, it quickly grew, and, in 1995, it went public on the NASDAQ (LHSP), and was also quoted on the now-defunct Brussels-based EASDAQ exchange. Its headquarters were in Ypres, Belgium, and in Burlington, Massachusetts. At its peak, Lernout & Hauspie had a market capitalization of almost US$10 billion.
Flanders played an important role in investing in the company and the surrounding Flanders Language Valley. Lernout & Hauspie quickly became Flanders' pride.
It acquired a number of its smaller competitors, including text-to-speech developer Berkeley Speech Technologies, in 1996. During March-April 2000 Lernout & Hauspie acquired Dictaphone for nearly US$1 billion, then acquired Dragon Systems shortly thereafter. Lernout & Hauspie provided the voice recognition technology needed to propel Dictaphone's voice recognition enhanced transcription system.
For some time Lernout & Hauspie was dogged by rumours of financial impropriety, and in early 1999 the Wall Street Journal, ran allegations in its Heard on the Street column, by Goldman Sachs analyst Robert Smithson, that earnings had been overstated. Further investigation by Wall Street Journal staffer Jesse Eisinger led to the revelation on 8 August 2000 of a major financial scandal involving fictitious transactions in Korea and improper accounting methodologies elsewhere. In April 2001 founders Jo Lernout and Pol Hauspie, as well as former CEO Gaston Bastiaens, were arrested in what is considered one of the largest corporate scandals in history prior to Enron. Lernout & Hauspie finally went bankrupt on 25 October 2001 after having struggled for a year.
The technology was bought by Nuance Communications (known then as ScanSoft) and Vantage Learning after the bankruptcy. Nuance acquired all of the speech technologies and Vantage acquired all of the proofing, spelling, and linguistic search technologies.
Many people, especially in West Flanders, were blinded by the company's success and lost large sums of money on Lernout & Hauspie stock. The Flanders regional government became a major Lernout & Hauspie investor through a venture capital arm. During one of Lernout & Hauspie's cash shortages, it guaranteed 75% of a bank loan to the company. Investors and taxpayers alike were hit hard when the company went bankrupt.
Lernout and Hauspie speech recognition is now used in the "Speech" option in the control panel of Microsoft Windows XP and is abbreviated as LH. In addition, Microsoft Office uses certain elements of a grammar checker developed by L&H, which is mentioned in the About window. The revenues of Nuance Communications grew sharply from $17.1 million in third quarter of 2001, to $216 million in Q3 2008.
History from Wikipedia and OldCompany.com (old stock certificate research service).
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.