Old Stock and Bond Certificates

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.  Certificate holders who have a brokerage account may want to ask their broker if they can assist in researching the certificate.

Other research resources may be found on the Internet, at public libraries, stock exchanges, or stockbrokers' offices. Even if you learn that a certificate has no investment value, you may find that the certificate itself has value as a collectible.

The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has 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.