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    So you found an old stock in your attic or a flea market.
      --  Is it worth a fortune or not?

Your main questions:
-  Does the stock have any value?
-  Is it redeemable?
-  Is the company still around?
-  How do I get money for it?
-  What is the collectible value?

First, check if the company is still traded on any major financial site.  Most sites have a company name to symbol search system.  If you have no luck, check the links below.

Ezekiel Air Ship stock certificate

 
Please check out our categorized resources below (updated September 2012). 

If you have inherited or discovered old stock certificates,  you may have found a fortune or maybe only a neat collectible.  These links and companies will help you to research your stocks to see if they are obsolete or negotiable.  Some links are free, while other links are for companies that charge research fees. 

Of course, we suggest starting with the free resources (transfer agents & state regulators) to see if your old stock is worth anything other than a collectible piece of paper. These are the places to start and only cost your time.

Please note that OldStocks.com does not provide what a stock might be worth as an investment.  Our business is collectible old stock certificates for which we can only estimate based on similar pieces in the market.

Determining value:

If the certificates are not cancelled (perforated, hole punches, stamped, or otherwise marked), you can research by yourself or, save time, and pay for the service.  These services also may help with redemption questions and procedures (how to get your money if it is worth something as an investment). We get no compensation from the links to fee-based research sites and list this only as information if you choose this route.

 

Fee-based Services for Stock and Bond Research

Old Company Research
888-786-2576
Stock Search International
800-537-4523
Stock Research Services
435-586-9497
Prudential-American
626-795-5831
Stock-Search-Global
800-418-9451
Stock Cert Expert
New research service
 
I have not used any of the services and cannot recommend one over another. Check which service fits your own needs.



Internet resources:

You can also check for yourself to see if the company still exists or merged into another company.  It may still have value!  The following links may help in your research.  We provide information on stock exchanges, transfer agents, and state security contacts.  We leave it up to you to check the financial sites for company symbol or listing.

We highly recommend contacting the State Securities Regulators in your investigation of a company or stock certificate.  The state of incorporation is normally stated on the face of the certificate.  The second most important resource is the transfer agent.  We have many links below to trace information from transfer agents (also indicated on most modern securities).  Corporate archives are also a good source for old or merged companies.

  

List of Transfer Agents (check on your certificate)

StockTransfer.com
Find the company's transfer agent.
Transfer Online
More transfer agent information
Please note transfer agents may have merged but are an excellent starting point
Shareholder Services Association
Support corporate issuers for shareholder recordkeeping (not for stock owners) .
SEC Transfer Agent Site
The government's page on the topic with many links to other reference pages
Smaller Transfer Agent List
Some are single state agencies while others handle smaller and private companies
American Stock Transfer & Trust
Covers Microsoft, Honeywell, Under Armour, RiteAid, eTrade, Yum, Dell, and more companies
BNY Mellon Shareowner Services
In 2011, Computershare acquired BNY Mellon's Shareowner Services.
Colonial Stock Transfer
Covers lesser known and smaller companies and shareholder communications
        
ComputerShare
Covers the most companies with over 7500 and counting, acquired many other agents
Continental Stock Transfer & Trust
Covers Steinway Musical, Leap Frog,  Peet's Coffee, and others
JP Morgan (ADR.com)
Covering foreign (ADR) stocks noting all banks and agents that hold deposits
LINK Shareholder Services
Smaller firm that helps trace assets after mergers and asset recovery.
Wells Fargo Shareowner Services
Covers companies such as Gap, Kraft, Merck, ConAgra, Kellogg, and others
SEARCH HINT: 
Do a Google search with the certificate "company name" + "shareholder services"


Definition of Transfer Agent:

A financial institution appointed by a company to act as the stockholder record keeper and perform any transactions of the registered stock. Transfer agents issue and cancel stock certificates, disburse dividends, and shareholder tabulations.

Transfer agents perform three main functions:

1)  Issue and cancel certificates to reflect ownership changes, keeping records of who owns a company stocks and bonds , whether  in certificate form, bin book-entry form, or by the investor’s brokerage firm.

2)  Act as an intermediary for the company. transfer agents act as paying agent (dividends) proxy agent, exchange agent, tender agent, and mailing agent (e.g. annual reports).

3)  Transfer agents help shareholders when a stock or bond certificate has been lost, destroyed, or stolen.

Free Research Sites for Old Stocks and Companies

Securities and Exchange Commission
AKA the SEC  -- get your taxes worth!
Regulatory Contacts and Exchanges
NYSE, AMEX, Nasdaq, etc.
 State Securities Regulators
Check with the state of incorporation
Treasury Direct
Info about US bonds, bills, and notes
Depository Trust & Clearing Corp
Clearing, settlement & info for equities
National Securities Clearing Corp
Info for mutual funds and insurance
     
FINRA.org
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
NACAA.org
N. American Securities Administrators 
Library of Congress
LOC guide to researching old companies
 Canadian Regulators
Links to every territory
 International Regulators
Outside the US (excludes Canada)
Int'l Org. of Security Commissions
International information
     
World Federation of Exchanges
International information
CorporateAffliations.com
Mergers, acquisitions, and name changes
Directory of Corporate Archives
US & Canada business archives
Hoovers.com
Business profiles and subsidiaries
Business.com
"The Business Search Engine"
Tracing Old Stocks
Library guide to investigating old stocks
        
Gold Sheet Links
 Tons of research links from one page
Replacing Lost Certificates
The SEC answer page
OTCBB
Over the counter stocks 
The Wall Street Journal
The market's paper
Investor Words
Helpful glossary of investing terms
Suggest more links!

Reference Guides for collecting   (see more in Scripophily Reference Books )

Offline Research

A number of the above links list books and offline contacts that might help in your search.  We did not list them here in order to save space.  Don't forget to use your local library! The Directory of Obsolete Securities (issued every year) covers hundreds of thousands of old securities and merger information.  It is found in larger libraries.

Found something valuable?

Contact a licensed broker or authorized financial institution to redeem.  Usually, an active company has investor information on their website (e.g. their transfer agent).  Your broker or transfer agent can also help with merged company information and how securities are handled from previous company names.

Collectible Value

We will provide you with FREE valuation for your certificates as collectibles.  We have a large collection of references and databases of previously sold items so we can provide a good retail figure on most any US piece.  Again, this service is completely free!  We can also tell you the best places to sell your item if we do not purchase it.  However, we cannot provide the investment value of any active security. 

Please use the links above or a securities broker for investment research on any item thought to be negotiable.  The SEC also has great resources to start.

 

 

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