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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Old Stock and Bond Certificates

An old stock or bond certificate may still be valuable even if it no longer trades under the name printed on the certificate. The company may have merged with another company or simply changed its name. Keep in mind that due to corporate reorganizations (such as splits, mergers, or reverse mergers), the current share price may not be useful in determining the certificate’s value, if any. If the name of the transfer agent is printed on the certificate, contacting the transfer agent is the easiest way to learn about the certificate. If the transfer agent whose name appears on the certificate is no longer in existence, contacting the state agency that handles incorporations in the state in which the company was incorporated may prove useful.

You can use the resources below to find out if an old stock or bond certificate has value. Even if you learn that a certificate has no investment value, you may find that the certificate itself has value as a collectable.

These resources may be found on the Internet, at public libraries, stock exchanges, or stockbrokers' offices. But please note that the SEC cannot recommend or endorse any of these entities, their personnel, or their products or services. This list is not exhaustive.

Scripophily.com. The company is named after the hobby of collecting old stock and bond certificates. For a fee, Scripophily.com (tel. no. 703-787-3532) researches whether your stock or bond certificate has any value. The company also is a large buyer and seller of collectable certificates, with a list and images of more than 4,500 different companies. See also, Stock Search International, http://www.stocksearchintl.com/ (tel. no. (800) 537-4523) and R. M. Smythe & Co., Inc., http://www.spinksmythe.com/ (tel. no. (800) 622-1880).

Financial Stock Guide Service. Published by Financial Information, Inc. since 1927, this comprehensive guide is a good starting point for all research on old stock certificates. This listing, updated annually, contains a directory of actively traded stocks and obsolete securities. You can have the Custom Research department of Financial Information research your certificate (for a fee) by calling (800) 367-3441.

Robert D. Fisher Manual of Valuable & Worthless Securities. Published by R.M. Smythe & Co., Inc., this is a multi-volume resource that is particularly helpful guide if you are trying to trace the value of very old stock certificates. R.M. Smythe will research your certificate for a fee.

Moody's Industrial Manual and Moody's OTC Industrial Manual. Published by Mergent Company, these manuals give brief summaries of companies' histories, backgrounds, mergers and acquisitions, subsidiaries, principal plants, and properties. This guide is updated annually. You can learn how to obtain a subscription to the manuals by calling (800) 342-5647.


We have provided this information as a service to investors.  It is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of SEC policy.  If you have questions concerning the meaning or application of a particular law or rule, please consult with an attorney who specializes in securities law.