Q. I have an old stock certificate. How can I find if it has any value, and what happened to the company that issued it?
Here are some Web sites that explain the research necessary to answer your question:
Collectible Stocks and Bonds
For a list of paper and microfiche sources available at UNT, see Researching Old Stock Certificates in the UNT Libraries
If the company is no longer traded on any exchange, you will need to do some research to determine the value of the shares and/or redeeming the shares. We can't do the research for you, but here are some suggestions:
First, be sure you have the following information, all of which should be on the certificate:
The name of the company
The date the shares were issued
The state in which the company was incorporated
The most basic question to resolve is whether the company still exists. It might have changed names, been purchased by another company, etc. The first thing you might do is call or write the transfer agent that is listed on the front of the certificate. A transfer agent handles transfers of stock certificates and should be able to advise you on their value.
If the transfer agent no longer exists or cannot help you, you might try to contact the company directly. The stock certificate should show the state where the company was incorporated. Contact the Secretary of State in that state, and ask for the Business Corporations Section. (There are links to several state agency Web sites in the Goldsheet Obsolete Securities Web site listed above.) They should be able to give you a history of the company (when it began, merged, dissolved, went bankrupt, etc.). From there you can contact the existing company (if there is one) to find out the value.
Even if the certificate turns out to be worthless as stock, old certificates can still have considerable value for collectors. The Web sites listed above give sources where you can look up the collector value of an old stock certificate.