Toys "R" Us, Inc. (Specimen)

Toys "R" Us, Inc. (Specimen)
Item# 4286toys

Charles Lazarus initially started Toys "R" Us (Ltd) in Washington, DC during the post-war baby boom era in 1948 as a baby furniture retailer known as "Childrens Supermart" and later "Children's Bargain Town USA". Its first location was at 2461 18th St, NW, where the nightclub, Madam's Organ Blues Bar is currently located. Lazarus began receiving requests from customers for baby toys. The original Toys "R" Us store design in the 1970s and 1980s consisted of vertical rainbow stripes and a brown roof with a front entrance and side exit. Some brown roof locations still exist, although some were painted different colors or renovated in recent years. Toys "R" Us is also notable for making its mark in popular culture for being mentioned, parodied, or appearing in movies and TV shows, such as Back to the Future, The Blues Brothers, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Flintstones.

After several major missteps in the marketplace, mainly precipitated by the removal of one of the Board of Directors, Toys "R" Us experienced difficulty. In an effort to shore up their enterprise, the Board of Directors installed John Eyler, formerly of FAO Schwarz. Eyler launched an unsuccessful, and very expensive plan to remodel and re-launch the chain. Blaming market pressures (primarily competition from Wal-Mart and Target), Toys "R" Us considered splitting its toys and baby businesses. On July 21, 2005, a consortium of Bain Capital Partners LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), and Vornado Realty Trust completed the $6.6 billion acquisition of the toy giant. Public stock closed for the last time at $26.74, just pennies from the 52-week high, but far short of its all time high of almost $45 in fourth-quarter 1993, and its five-year high of $31 in 2Q 2001. Toys "R" Us is now a privately owned entity.

In the 1960s, an anthropomorphic cartoon giraffe character (pictured on this certificate) was introduced as Toys "R" Us' mascot. His name, Geoffrey the Giraffe, followed in the 1970s, after a "Name the Mascot"–type contest. In 1973, Geoffrey was given a family with the addition of his wife Gigi. However, over time and with different marketing campaigns, it has been unclear as to whether Gigi is Geoffrey's wife or sister. Also in 1973, Geoffrey's daughter, Baby Gee, was introduced. In 1979, his son Junior (a.k.a. Geoffrey Junior) was added. Geoffrey was then re-introduced in 2001, after being given a full makeover. He then appeared not as a cartoon character, but rather as a real-life giraffe who talks; an animatronic version of Geoffrey the Giraffe (created by Stan Winston Studios) was voiced by Jim Hanks in commercials for radio and television. He now appears, once again, as a cartoon; his style is very much like the current vector-style cartoons that can be seen on Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Disney Channel. On some gift cards, there is also a fish, elephant, and more.

Close Up of Vignette

Certificate: Common Stock, specimen, late 1900’s

Printer: Security-Columbian / United States Bank Note Company

Dimensions: 8” (h) x 12” (w)

State: DE-Delaware

Subject Matter: Famous Companies | Consumer Products | Children’s Games | Specimen Pieces

Vignette Topic(s): Allegorical Featured | Allegorical Orpheus (Lyre Interpretation) | Cartoon Character

Condition: No fold lines, punch hole cancels in signature areas and bodies. Very crisp.

All certificates are sold only as collectible pieces, as they are either canceled or obsolete. Certificates carry no value on any of today's financial indexes and no transfer of ownership is implied. Unless otherwise indicated, images are representative of the piece(s) you will receive.