Q:

How do you search for the value of an old stock certificate?

A:

Quick Answer

An old stock certificate could have value as a collectible or as a financial security, according to the Wall Street Journal. To find its value as a security, consult library resources, the stock's transfer agent or other official source. Library resources may reveal its collectible or "scripophily" value.

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Full Answer

Examine the certificate to see if it is marked "specimen" or "cancelled." If so marked, it does not have value as a security but may have collectible value. To estimate its collectible value, the Wall Street Journal advises that the person start with the public library, but then also try online resources or use a paid appraisal service.

Determining the security value of the certificate may be tricky because the corporation may have changed names or merged, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The public library may have the information needed to determine the certificate's security value, but if not, the librarian may be able to direct the enquirer to other information resources. A transfer agent can also be contacted; this is a business that is responsible for tracking the ownership of stock certificates.

If the transfer agent can't be identified, contact the treasurer of the corporation's home state or the office of investor assistance at the SEC. The Wall Street Journal says that a regular stock broker may also be able to help. If the stock certificate does have value as a financial security, ownership has to be proved.

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