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I recently found some stock certificates in an old drawer. How do I go about seeing how much they’re worth?


Lucky you. All I ever find in old drawers are socks that don’t match any of my others. The first step, which you may have overlooked in the excitement, is to see whose name is on the certificates to make sure that the shares belong to you or a loved one or would have been passed on to you through inheritance. After that you may to do some forensic accounting. The companies that issued the shares may have merged with other companies or been taken over or just changed their names.

If you’re not sure that the companies whose names are on the certificates exist in the same form, then Google each one. The present owner, either the original company or its most recent incarnation, probably will be near the top of the search results. The next step is to go to each company’s website, look for “Investor Relations” and call the appropriate number. Give them the certificate numbers and any other information in the certificates, and they should be able to tell you who owns the shares, how much they’re worth (they may have split several times since they were issued) and, if necessary, how to convert the certificates into ones in use today.
-Conrad de Aenlle