Beautiful engraved specimen membership certificate from the New York Produce Exchange
dated 19__ . This historic document was printed by American Bank Note Company and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of ships in a harbor.
The New York Commercial Association (established in 1861), was an institution later to be renamed the New York Produce Exchange (1868). The New York Produce Exchange was the leading export market for American wheat, cotton-seed oil, flour and lard.
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.