Should You Cash In Old Stock Certificates?

how to cash in old stock certificates

You need money. Now! What do you do? 

The rideshare scene is saturated. There are no available jobs that don't put you at risk for COVID infection. If you sell any more blood or plasma, you might not wake up again! 

Your options are limited. But, you may be one of the lucky few in possession of an ancient lottery ticket known as a stock certificate. 

Are you trying to figure out how to get some money, and you have old stock certificates? Read this article to learn more about stock certificate sales. 

The Value of Old Stock Certificates 

Before there was TD Ameritrade, Robinhood, WeBull, or ETrade, when you wanted to invest in a company you had to buy stocks the old school way. 

You had to purchase a little piece of paper that vouched for your little piece of ownership in a promising company. You had to purchase a stock certificate. 

The stock certificate doesn't even have to be some old-timey 1950's relic. As recently as the early 2010s, companies like Disney were still issuing paper stocks

Whatever the case, if you find yourself in possession of a paper stock certificate, you may be wondering about its value. It could be worth a pretty penny, or it could be worth exactly nothing. 

There's only one way to find out about the value of old stock certificates: you must look it up! 

Stock Certificate Lookup 

There are a few critical pieces of information you need to validate an old stock cert. The best thing is that you can find all of the relevant information printed right there on the stock's face. 

1) Company Name 

When you research old stock certificates, notice the company name. You can quickly look up the company online and see what it is trading for. 

If the company still exists, lucky you! Your certificate is likely worth some change. 

If the company name no longer exists, your certificate may still be worth something, but you'll need to do some digging.  And, if the company went out of business, then you're holding in your hand a very nice-looking slip of paper--and, unfortunately, not much else! 

2) CUSP Number 

The Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures (CUSIP) number is your stock certificate's serial number. It's a critical piece of information because even if the company changed names, its CUSIP number will vouch for its validity. 

3) Location 

What state did the company incorporate in? If you're having trouble finding more info, check with the Secretary of State's office, since a company must incorporate through that agency. 

Believe it or not, if you owned a stock certificate and lost it, you may be able to recover its value. Read more on Wikipedia or Google about what to do for a lost stock certificate. It often depends on the stock, its transfer agent, or your brokerage.

Time to Get Some Help 

If you have all the necessary info, your next step is to locate a transfer agent. A transfer agent can help guide you through the process of turning old stock certificates into cash.

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