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American Crystal Sugar Company


SKU: 7439
Product Details


Nicely engraved antique stock certificate from the American Crystal Sugar Company dating back to the 1930's. This document, which carries the printed signatures of the company President and Treasurer, was printed by the American Bank Note Company, and measures approximately 11" (w) by 7" (h).


This certificate features a pair of male figures flanking the company inititals.


You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

    Historical Context

    The American Beet Sugar Company, predecessor to the American Crystal Sugar Company, owned by the Oxnard family and based in Denver, was one of the first sugarbeet producers, having been formed in 1899. Through the early decades of the 20th century, American Beet developed into a six-plant operation over three states: Colorado, California, and Nebraska.


    In 1922, a crisis was at hand for Colorado's American Beet Sugar Company, which was fast becoming a neglected and vulnerable family business. Following a board meeting convened in April of that year, a special committee was formed to investigate and redirect the company. Then, in June, three successive events--the resignation of second American Beet president Robert Oxnard; the death of original company president Henry Oxnard; and the resignation of chairperson and appointed president H. Rieman Duval--threw the already beleaguered company into a tailspin. Although Duval's resignation was at first rejected, he was eventually replaced by R. Walter Leigh.

    By 1924, with Leigh at the helm, the Colorado company was facing the possibility of dissolution. Only three of its six plants were still operating, and only one of these three, the Oxnard, California, plant, was considered sufficient to handle present operations without costly renovation. Leigh recommended that American Beet, if it intended to survive, should seek out new territories and either acquire or form a coalition with other successful beet operations. Both American Beet's chief chemist and vice-president ventured to Minnesota that year to explore the Red River territory and the possibility of an alignment, if not merger, with Northern Sugar and Minnesota Sugar.

    During this time, the Commercial Clubs of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota, had been negotiating with Minnesota Sugar over the construction of what would be the Valley's first sugarbeet processing plant. H.A. Douglas, president of both Minnesota and Northern Sugar, had announced the prior year that his Chaska-based company would commit $1 million toward the construction of the proposed plant, provided the area's farmers and business leaders raised an additional $500,000. The completion of the deal appeared a foregone conclusion--considering the high interest of all parties involved--until a conference with Douglas at the behest of American Beet was held in Chicago in September 1924. During that meeting, American Beet representatives indicated the company's interest in entering new locations while possibly relocating its idle factories or acquiring existing factories. Following another conference in October, during which a purchase price for both Northern and Minnesota Sugar was discussed, American Beet completed negotiations in November, acquiring Minnesota Sugar for $1.97 million and Northern for $2.45 million. The deal included the property involved in the East Grand Forks development but did not obligate American Beet to build a factory there.

    Rumors and speculation abounded among Valley growers and civic leaders through the spring of 1925, when the acquisition was finalized. Shortly thereafter, American Beet officials cleared the air. The construction of a plant would be postponed and a local in-progress sale of stock in the East Grand Forks development, named the Red River Sugar Company, would need to be rescinded. Fortunately for the beet farmers, the wait for a new plant was not long. In 1926, American Beet erected a 2,000-tons-per-day capacity plant in East Grand Forks. Early that same year, the farmers established the Red River Valley Beet Growers Association, which would work in cooperation with American Beet on a number of matters, including acreage allotment. An early indication of the venture's success was the negotiated expansion from 10,500 acres planted in 1926 to 20,000 acres in 1927.

    In 1934, American Beet changed its name to American Crystal Sugar Company.


    Today, the American Crystal Sugar Company is an agricultural cooperative specializing in the production of sugar and agri-products. American Crystal is owned by 2,750 shareholders/growers who raise approximately one-third of the nation’s sugar beet acreage in the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota. As the largest beet sugar producer in the United States, the company produces and sells about 15 percent of America’s finest quality sugar. American Crystal operates sugar factories in Crookston, East Grand Forks, and Moorhead, Minnesota; Drayton and Hillsboro, North Dakota. The company’s technical services center and corporate headquarters are also located in Moorhead.