Beautiful engraved specimen certificate from the MGIC Investment Corporation
dated in 1969. This historic document was printed by American Bank Note Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of an allegorical woman. This item has the signatures of the Company's President, Max Karl and Secretary and is over 37 years old.
In the late 1950s, the national population was growing with the Baby Boom, and everyone expected to have a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. But before the garage and the car came a home. The average cost of a home at that time was $20,000 and average yearly income was $4,545. Putting the required 20% down payment on a home was difficult.
In 1957, Max Karl, a real estate attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, observed the struggles that people had with saving for a down payment on a home. He also understood the risks that mortgage originators faced in lending the money to potential home buyers. He was frustrated with the process of closing loans with 100% government guarantees, which he believed was rife with red tape and bureaucracy. Why not create a private company that insured only the top portion of a mortgage, rather than 100% of the mortgage? This could be a less costly and easier way to provide low-down payment financing to borrowers with less than a 20% down payment.
Mr. Karl took his idea to a group of investors, many of whom were Savings & Loan executives. This group, along with his family and friends (even his barber!) contributed $250,000 in capital, and he founded the Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation or MGIC
MGIC Investment Corporation (NYSE: MTG) is the parent of Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC). Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, MGIC serves more than 5,000 lenders across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico.
As the nation's leading provider of private mortgage insurance, MGIC provides a critical component of the country's residential mortgage finance system, protecting mortgage investors from credit losses. Private MI also benefits consumers by helping them achieve homeownership sooner with low-down-payment loans.
History from Wikipeida 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.