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How to Search for Value of Stock Shares

written by: Jayant R Row•edited by: Jason C. Chavis•updated: 9/20/2010

The current value of an old stock certificate of oil companies can only be found if the company is still in business in some form or the other. Companies merge or split their shares and may even cancel an entire series of shares. How to search for value of old oil company stock shares is important.

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    Old Oil Company Shares May Still Have Value

    share cert It is quite common nowadays for people to hold stocks in the electronic form. These are then permanently available with the holding company and can be always be accessed by the owner through his own account with the company.

    There was a time especially in the 1920s and 1930s when oil prospecting was at its highest and oil companies were in every nook and cranny of the country. Oil prospecting was never a cheap affair and a lot of these companies raised funds on the stock market and issued colorful share certificates to the people who did invest some of their money with them. In those times, all stock certificates were issued in printed form by the company issuing the stock and as trading in shares was not very common, our ancestors quite often bought the shares and forgot all about them. And then when you went through some old cupboards full of stuff from the house that you inherited you chanced upon these colorful stock shares of defunct oil companies and wondered how much they are worth, if anything at all.

    Image Source: Wikimedia : Share: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oil_Creek_and_Allegheny_River_Railway_stock_share.jpg

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    Tracking the Shares to Find Their Present Worth

    Now you need to know how to search for value of old oil company stock shares. The first thing to worry about is whether the company that issued the shares is in existence today. If the company has merged or been acquired by another company you can find this information through searches on the internet. Once you have found the new name of the company contact their investor relations department and give them all the information about the shares you have, the date of issuance, certificate number, number of shares and any other details that you think are relevant. You would then get information as to whether the shares you hold are valid and what their present value is. You can also track the shares if any name of a transfer agent is mentioned on the share certificate. Of course if the stock is very old, maybe the transfer agent has also since wound up his business and you would be again at the starting point. You can also get such research done through your own stock broker.

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    Cancelled or Defunct Shares May Still Have Some Value

    Your old oil company stock shares would have no value if they are cancelled in any way. If they have been there may still be some value in the shares if they are collector’s items. All this information can be got over the internet. There are also some companies which would charge a fee and do the entire research for you for a fee. Another problem that you may face when you are finding out how to search for value of old oil company stock shares is that you would have to prove that you are the legal heir to these shares if you are not the original owner. This may be a far more daunting task then finding the value of the shares.

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    References

    Tulsa City- County Library - http://www.tulsalibrary.org/research/stock.php

    USA today - http://www.usatoday.com/money/wealth/making/mmw189.htm