Beautiful engraved RARE specimen certificate from Laura Scudder's, Inc
dated 1983. This historic document was printed by Security-Columbian Banknote Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of an eagle. This item is over 24 years old.
Laura Clough Scudder (1881 – 1959) was an entrepreneur in Monterey Park, California, who made and sold potato chips and who pioneered the packaging of potato chips in sealed bags to extend freshness.
Born in Philadelphia, Laura Scudder worked as a nurse before moving to California. While there she became the first female attorney in Ukiah, California before moving south to Monterey Park, California, where she started her food company in 1926.
At first, potato chips were packaged in barrels or tins, which left chips at the bottom stale and crumbled. Laura Scudder started having her workers take home sheets of wax paper to iron into the form of bags, which were filled with chips at her factory the next day. This innovation kept the chips fresh and crisp longer and, along with the invention of cellophane, allowed potato chips to become a mass market product.
Scudder also began putting dates on the bags, becoming the first company to freshness date their food products.
Laura Scudder faced many obstacles running her own company during the Great Depression. For instance, when she tried to get insurance for the company's delivery truck, she was denied by all the local male insurance agents, who claimed that a woman would be unreliable at paying the premiums. The female insurance agent who eventually insured the truck went on to insure the entire company fleet.
At one point, Laura Scudder turned down a $9 million offer for the company because the buyer wouldn't guarantee her employees' jobs. In 1957 she finally accepted a $6 million offer from a buyer who guaranteed job security for her workforce. The new company was called Laura Scudder Inc. At the time of the sale the company had expanded into peanut butter and mayonnaise, and Laura Scudder brand potato chips held a greater than 50% share of the California market.
In 1987, the Laura Scudder Inc. was sold to Borden Inc. for over $55 million. Annual sales for the chipmaker were $126 million in 1986.
History from Wikipedia and OldCompanyResearch.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.