To determine the value of an old stock certificate, you will need to verify if the company is still active, the current (or most recent name) of the company and if its shares are still tradable.
Start by determining the company’s status
You will need to determine if the company is still in existence. Different resources are available to you. You can begin with a quick internet search on the company’s name.
If this doesn’t turn up any information, you may consult the corporate registry where the company was registered. You will find this information on the stock certificate, it will usually state “Incorporated under the laws of…”. For a list of provincial corporate registries, follow this link. If the company is federally incorporated, follow this link to consult Corporations Canada’s search engine.
Certain organizations may, for a fee, perform this search for you. Please note that the CSA does not endorse the services of these companies.
Once you have determined that the company is still in existence and its current name, you will need to:
Determine if the company’s shares are tradable (or under a Cease Trade Order):
If there are no active CTOs issued against the company, you may be able to trade your shares.
How to trade-in a stock certificate
If the share certificate is registered in your name, you have three options:
- Keep it in a safe place until you are ready to trade it
- Deposit the shares into an existing brokerage account
- Open a brokerage account and deposit the shares.
If the share certificate is not registered in your name, you can have it transferred to you. To do so, contact the company’s transfer agent (listed on the certificate) or the company directly.
Transfer agent and company contact information are available at www.sedar.com, the official site that provides access to most public securities documents and information filed by issuers with the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA). To find information about a specific company, from SEDAR’shomepage:
- Click “Issuer profiles” in the top navigation bar
- Under “Company”, choose the first letter of the company’s name
- Scroll down the list and click on the company’s name.
On the company’s profile page, their address, a contact person as well as the transfer agent will be listed. Contact information for many transfer agents in Canada is available on The Securities Transfer Association of Canada website.
If the company is no longer in existence, the share certificate itself might still have some value to a collector. Share certificates are collected by scripophily enthusiasts for their historical significance and/or for their artwork and intricate engraving.
Consult one of the many scripophily resources available on the internet to find out more. Please note that the CSA does not endorse any specific scripophily website.