Beautifully engraved SPECIMEN certificate from Rand McNally and Company
dated 1916. This historic document was printed by the American Bank Note Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of an allegorical woman holing a tablet with a child by her side. This item is
over 94 years old. This is the first time we have seen this certificate for sale.
Rand McNally is the largest commercial mapmaker in the world. The company is famous for its flagship Rand McNally Road Atlas --the best-selling product in the history of mapmaking. In addition, the company produces travel-related software (TripMaker, StreetFinder) and educational products for classrooms (globes, atlases). Rand McNally also operates a Web site and makes mileage and routing software for the transportation industry. Founded in 1856, Rand McNally was owned by the McNally family until AEA Investors bought a controlling interest in 1997.
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 and realized nice appreciation in value over the past several years.