Nicely engraved antique bond certificate from A-T-O Inc. dating back to the 1970's. This document, which carries the printed signatures of the company Vice President/Treasurer and Secretary, was printed by the American Bank Note Company and measures approximately 12" (w) by 9" (h).
The certificate vignette features Thomas Jefferson and his Monticello home.
The images presented are representative of the piece(s) you will receive. When representative images are presented for one of our offerings, you will receive a certificate in similar condition as the one pictured; however dating, denomination, certificate number and issuance details may vary.
A-T-O Inc. was originally founded as the Automatic Sprinkler Corporation of America. The A-T-O name was adopted in 1969 as the company diversified into multiple industries.
One of the company's subsidiaries was Rawling Sporting Goods. In 1970 12 major league teams were wearing Rawlings-made uniforms, including the Pittsburgh Pirates, clad in the division's newly introduced doubleknit nylon and cotton uniforms. The American Basketball Association was using Rawlings' red-white-and-blue ball. A-T-O said that in just one year Rawlings had become the largest manufacturer of quality hockey equipment in the United States. Rawlings also was making golf and tennis equipment.
Early in 1971, A-T-O acquired Adirondack Industries, best known for its baseball bats but also an important producer of toboggans and winter toys as well as archery bows and hockey sticks. The Adirondack operation was combined administratively with the Rawlings division.
The company also made a failed effort to purchase the Boston Red Sox.
The Yawkey Trust put the Sox up for bids in 1977, only to reject the high bidder in favor of a suspiciously one-sided inside deal. Although A-T-O, Inc. offered $18,750,000 for the Sox, the trust instead sold the club at a 20% discount to a syndicate headed by Haywood Sullivan, and Edward (Buddy) LeRoux.
Sullivan, a former major league catcher, had spent the past 12 years in the Sox front office. LeRoux, who had served as Red Sox trainer from 1966-74, was a businessman with Florida real estate holdings. Neither had the wealth normally associated with ownership of a major league club, and their bid was far below A-T-O’s. A-T-O sued the Yawkey Trust to invalidate the proposed sale, arguing that the trust had an obligation to generate as much money as possible for itself from the sale of the Sox.
While the suit was pending, Sullivan and LeRoux quickly consolidated their authority. On October 24, 1977, Sullivan became Sox GM and LeRoux became Vice President for Administration. Former GM Dick O’Connell, who had worked for the Sox since 1946, was abruptly discharged. Although O’Connell had long been close to Tom Yawkey, Jean Yawkey said that her husband had decided to fire O’Connell when, less than a month before Yawkey’s death, O’Connell had tried to purchase Joe Rudi and Rollie Fingers from the Oakland Athletics for $1 million each.
The prospective new owners would face no such temptation, because they were woefully undercapitalized. Sullivan and LeRoux, the managing general partners, controlled the club despite investing only $200,000 each. Jean Yawkey contributed another $3 million, while the others in the syndicate borrowed $8 million from State Street Bank & Trust to finance most of their purchase. In return, the bank demanded and received security for the loan: a clause in the loan agreement which limited how much the Sox could spend on player salaries, player development, and free agents.
If the sale had gone through, the State Street security clause would have crippled the Sox during an era when free agency sent salaries soaring. (The Red Sox payroll rose from $1.9 million in 1977 to $14.7 million in 1986.) But the American League rejected the deal. Bud Selig, then chairman of the AL’s finance committee, explained: “This isn’t Cleveland, it’s Boston, the flagship of the American League. This is the most important franchise in the American League, and we can’t afford to let it be underfinanced or second-rate.”
Sullivan and LeRoux finally won American League approval to buy the Sox in May, 1978, after restructuring their ownership group to eliminate the State Street loan. The new group consisted of three general partners – Jean Yawkey, Haywood Sullivan and Buddy LeRoux – and thirty limited partnership shares.
A-T-O was renamed Figgie International, Inc. in 1981.
All of our pieces are original - we do not sell reproductions. If you ever find out that one of our pieces is not authentic, you may return it for a full refund of the purchase price and any associated shipping charges.