Beautiful engraved RARE specimen certificate from the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company
dated in 1938. This historic document was printed by American Bank Note Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of two angels next to an old phone. This item is over 69 years old.
Southwestern Bell Telephone, L.P., formerly Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, is a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T. Southwestern Bell Telephone is currently headquartered in San Antonio, TX.
Southwestern Bell Telephone Company was officially founded in 1920 to take over the telephone operations of Southwestern Telegraph & Telephone Co., The Bell Telephone Company of Missouri, among others. In its time as part of the Bell System, it was at times the biggest Bell Operating Company of the 22 AT&T owned.
The company was often considered the first step of the AT&T corporate "ladder" before the 1984 breakup. After the 1984 breakup of AT&T, it was allowed to keep its directory publishing operations, commonly known as "SWBYP'S" (Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages, pronounced swah-bips).
Shortly after the 1984 AT&T breakup, Southwestern Bell began licensing its name to Conair, creating Southwestern Bell Freedom Phone. Conair continues to produce the Southwestern Bell Freedom Phone line of telephones.
After the AT&T breakup in 1984, Southwestern Bell Telephone Company was managed by Southwestern Bell Corporation, which was ironically the smallest of all of the 7 RBOCs, as it only held 1 telephone company. Both the holding company, SBC, and Southwestern Bell Telephone often were referred to as one "Southwestern Bell". In 1995, however, SBC decided to change its corporate name to SBC Communications, Inc., a decision made to make itself a national telecommunications company. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 enabled SBC to become a national company, and SBC acquired the Pacific Telesis Group in 1997; Southern New England Telecommunications in 1998, and Ameritech in 1999.
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.