This item is an extremely rare American Bank Note Company working proof for a Gulf Oil Corporation debenture bond.
Working proofs were used during the American Bank Note pre-production process. Each piece details the intricacies of the old fashioned cut-and-paste method in which the designs were developed. The proof was subsequently circulated amongst American Bank Note Company officials and the executives of the customer (in this case Gulf Oil) for editing and approval. The markings from this process are evident on the layers of the proof and the distribution board as detailed by the images below. Once the approval and editing process was completed, the mass production of the certificate occurred for distribution to eventual shareholders. This unique item offers a glimpse into the bank note approval and printing process.
Working proof (1 piece), mounted on a cardboard backing.
This item is presented on an oversized, rigid hard board that measures 12 1/2" (w) x 9 (h).
The main proof (pictured above) is a xerox of an original specimen, and is covered by a clear layer (tissue sheet) with the working markings from the editing process. Other original markings appear directly on the proof sheet.
The outside of the cardboard backing also contains approval notations as shown below:
The business that became Gulf Oil started in 1901 with the discovery of oil at Spindletop, Texas. A group of investors came together to promote the development of a modern refinery at nearby Port Arthur to process the oil. The largest investor was William Larimer Mellon of the Pittsburgh Mellon banking family. Other investors included many of Mellon's Pennsylvania clients as well as some Texas wildcatters. Mellon Bank and Gulf Oil remained closely associated thereafter. The Gulf Oil Corporation itself was formed in 1907 through the amalgamation of a number of oil businesses, principally the J.M. Guffey Petroleum and Gulf Refining companies of Texas.
Gulf promoted the concept of branded product sales by selling gasoline in containers and from pumps marked with a distinctive orange disc logo. A customer buying Gulf-branded gasoline could be assured of its quality and consistent standard (in the early 20th century, non branded gasoline in the U.S was often contaminated or of unreliable quality).
Gulf Oil grew steadily in the inter-war years, with its activities mainly confined to the U.S. The company was characterized by its vertically integrated business activities, and was active across the whole spectrum of the oil industry: exploration, production, transport, refining and marketing. It also involved itself in associated industries such as petrochemicals and automobile component manufacturing. It introduced significant commercial and technical innovations, including the first drive-in service station (1911), complimentary road maps, drilling over water at Ferry Lake, and the catalytic cracking refining process (Gulf installed the world's first commercial catalytic cracking unit at its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery complex in 1951).
Gulf Oil reached the peak of its development around 1970. In that year, the company processed 1.3 million barrels of crude daily, held assets worth $6.5 billion, employed 58,000 employees worldwide, and was owned by 163,000 shareholders. In addition to its petroleum marketing interests, Gulf was a major producer of petrochemicals, plastics, and agricultural chemicals. Through its subsidiary, Gulf General Atomic Inc., it was also active in the nuclear energy sector. Gulf abandoned its involvement in the nuclear sector after a failed deal to build atomic power plants in Romania in the mid-1970s.
Gulf Oil was the primary sponsor for NBC News special events coverage in the 1960s, notably for coverage of the U.S. space program. The company used the connection to its advantage by offering giveaway or promotional items at its stations, including sticker sheets of space mission logos, a paper punch-out lunar module model kit, and a book titled "We Came In Peace," containing pictures of the Apollo 11 moon landing. One particularly memorable Gulf advertisement carried by NBC during their coverage of the Apollo missions showed aerial and onboard views of the Universe Ireland with Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers singing "Bringin' Home the Oil" - a tribute to the opening of Gulf's operations in Bantry Bay. Gulf Oil was most synonymous for its association with auto racing, as it famously sponsored the John Wyer Automotive team in the 1960s and early '70s. The signature light blue and orange color scheme associated with its Ford GT40 and Porsche 917 is one of the most famous corporate racing colors and has been replicated by other racing teams sponsored by Gulf. Much of its popularity is attributed to the fact that in the 1971 film Le Mans, Steve McQueen's character, Michael Delaney, drives for the Gulf team. As a result of McQueen's increasing popularity following his death and the increasing popularity of the Heuer Monaco which he wore at the film, TAG Heuer released a limited edition of the watch with the Gulf logo and trademark color scheme. In the same era, Gulf Oil also sponsored Team McLaren during the Bruce McLaren days, which used a papaya orange color scheme with Gulf blue for lettering.
By 1980, Gulf exhibited many of the characteristics of a giant corporation that had lost its way. It had a huge but poorly performing asset portfolio, associated with a depressed share price. The stock market value of Gulf started to drop below the break-up value of its assets. Such a situation was bound to attract the interest of corporate raiders, although a corporation in the top 100 of the Fortune 500 was in the early 1980s thought immune to takeover risk. Its undoing as an independent company began in 1982 when T. Boone Pickens, an Amarillo, Texas oilman and corporate raider (or greenmailer), and owner of Mesa Petroleum made an offer for the comparatively larger (but still considered "non-major" oil company) Cities Service Company
(more generally known by the name Citgo). Pickens first privately offered $45 a share for a friendly takeover and then later made a $50 a share public offer when Cities' CEO rejected the friendly offer. Gulf forestalled Mesa's takeover attempt by offering $63 a share in a friendly offer which Cities (by then trading at $37) accepted. Cities then bought out Pickens for $55 a share. Once Pickens was gone Gulf reneged on its buyout offer supposedly over a dispute regarding accuracy of Cities Services' reserves and the stock price of Cities plunged triggering stockholder lawsuits as well as distrust for Gulf's management on Wall Street and among financing investment banks who bet big in assisting Gulf defeat Mesa only to be left broke when Gulf backed out. Cities Services was ultimately sold to Occidental Petroleum, and the retail operations were resold to Southland Corporation, the operators of 7-Eleven stores. Gulf's termination of the Cities Service acquisition resulted in more than 15 years of shareholder litigation against Gulf (and later Chevron
Gulf divested many of its worldwide operating subsidiaries and then merged with Chevron by the spring of 1985. The forced merger of Gulf and Chevron was a controversy that was widely debated, with the U.S. Senate considering legislation to freeze oil industry mergers for a year--before the Reagan administration made it known it opposed government intervention in the matter and would veto any bill. - from: www.wikipedia.org
State Affiliations: PA-Pennsylvania
See Additional American Bank Note Company Proofs