Stock Market Tips & Facts : Selling Stock Certificates
How to Sell Stock Certificates
If you find yourself in possession of old stock certificates, you have a few options for selling them. You can cash them in through the transfer agent of the company with which the stock is owned. Or, you can work with a broker to sell the stock. Research the value of the stock to know whether you are holding on to fortune in cash or simply a pretty, collectible piece of paper.
Selling through a Transfer Agent
Identify the transfer agent for the company with which you own stock.Visit the investor relations page of the company’s website. This will direct you to the company’s transfer agent in most cases. You can also visit . This is a private trade organization of transfer agents. They provide general information about the functions of transfer agents.
Transfer the stock to direct registration.Call the transfer agent and ask for instructions on how to transfer the stock to direct registration. The Direct Registration System (DRS) allows owners of stock certificates to hold their shares in book entry-form with the transfer agent instead of as a physical stock certificate. Book-entry means that the transfer agent keeps a record of your ownership of the stock in its books. This replaces the physical stock certificate. Once you have done this, you can easily sell the stock at any time.
- DRS protects you from fraud and other risks associated with paper certificates.
- It also saves you money because it eliminates the cost of storing, printing and insuring paper certificates.
- You will have to mail the stock certificates to the transfer agent. Send them via insured mail with tracking information.
Depositing with a Brokerage Account
Sell your stock with a broker with whom you do not have an account.You can contact any stock broker and request that they sell your stock certificate for you. However, if you do not already have an account with that broker, they will likely charge you a hefty fee.
- In the past, brokerage firms have offered to sell paper stock certificates for free or at low cost in the hopes that customers would then open an account and use their other services. However, most customers did not go on to open accounts with the brokers, so most brokerage firms stopped offering this service.
Transfer your stock to street name registration.Use this process if you already have an account with a brokerage firm or are willing to open a new one. The brokerage firm registers your stock in its name and lists you as the “real” or “beneficial” owner. On the stock issuer’s books, however, the brokerage firm is listed as the owner. This will replace your paper stock certificate. The brokerage firm will send you quarterly statements that list your securities, dividends and interest statements.
- If you are acting as the executor or administrator of an estate, you will have to submit additional forms and court documents certifying that you are the administrator.
Sign the certificate over to the brokerage firm.You must do this before sending it to them in order to allow the brokerage to transfer the stock to street name registration. This process must be done at a bank or financial institution who can guarantee your signature.
- First, fill out the back of the stock certificate with the name of the brokerage firm. Find the spot that says, “Constitute and appoint ________ attorney to transfer.” Write the name of the brokerage firm on the line.
- Then, sign the back of the certificate and get a medallion signature guarantee. This is a stamp that guarantees your signature so the brokerage firm knows that it was actually you who signed the certificate over to them. The witness at the bank will stamp the back of your certificate with the medallion signature guarantee.
- Write your social security number and account number on the front of the certificate.
Send the certificate to the broker.Mail the certificate by certified mail. Insure it and get tracking information. It will take approximately five days for the stock to appear in your brokerage account. You can now sell it at any time. Once you sell the stock, the broker will either send you a check or deposit funds into a bank account that is linked to your brokerage account.
Sell your stock.Once the stock shows up in your brokerage account, you can sell it at any time. Contact your broker and place an order to sell the stock. When you place the order to sell, you can set conditions on how the order is executed, as well as price restrictions and time limitation on the execution of the order.
- A market order tells your broker to sell the stock for the next available price. No restrictions can be placed on a market order. Your stock will sell at any time during the day no matter what the price.
- A limit order sets the minimum price for which your stock can be sold.
- A sell stop order sets a maximum amount you are willing to lose on the sale of a stock. If the stock drops below a certain value, it is sold right away to prevent further losses.
Researching the Value of Old Stock Certificates
Know what a stock certificate is.A stock certificate is a physical piece of paper that represents ownership in a company. When someone buys shares of stock in a company, they can receive a stock certificate that states how many shares they own, the date the stock was sold, identification numbers, a corporate seal and relevant signatures. A stock certificate is usually printed on a large piece of paper and features elaborate graphic designs that are intended to prevent fraudulent replication. In the past, stock certificates were issued any time someone purchased stock in a company. Today, however, the records of stock ownership are generally kept in electronic form. You can request a paper stock certificate. Companies will usually charge a fee for printing it for you.
- A physical stock certificate is also referred to as “bearer form,” meaning the bearer of the certificate owns the securities.
Identify key information to learn about the stock certificate.It is common for people to find stock certificates among the possessions of a person who has died. Sometimes the name of the company is familiar. But other times you may not have ever heard of the company. If you find old stock certificates, identify the company name, the Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures (CUSIP) number and the name of the person with whom the stock is registered. This information will allow you to research whether or not the certificates have any value.
Research the history of the company with the Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures (CUSIP).Every stock is given a CUSIP identification number. Use this number to research changes and splits in the stock and name changes.
- CUSIP numbers are created by the American Banker’s Association, who also owns the numbers. The numbers are operated by Standard and Poor’s.
- To gain access to the database of CUSIP numbers, you have to pay a fee to Standard and Poor’s. Sometimes individual companies will display their CUSIP numbers on their website.
Consult corporate historical records if the company name has changed.If the company name has changed or it has merged with another company, you may have to do some additional research to figure out the current name of the company. Most brokerage firms can track down information on companies.But, if you don’t want to work with a brokerage firm, visit , the Directory of Obsolete Securities, which is published annually by or to research company histories.
- If the company has merged with or been acquired by a company that already exists, contact that company’s investor relations page to identify the transfer agent and cash in the stock.
- If these sources don’t yield any information, consult state records of the state in which the company was incorporated. Many states have online databases that keep track of registered company names.
Identify the stock symbol using the company name.Yahoo Finance has a that lets you enter the name of the company to find its stock symbol, or ticker.The stock symbol is a unique series of characters used the by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), American Stock Exchange (AMEX) and National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations (Nasdaq).
Look up a stock quote.Use the stock symbol to get a stock quote. Consult a stock market quote service. You can find these services for free on the internet. Simple stock market quote tools can be found on and .
- Enter the stock symbol of the company. You can look up one company at a time. Or you can enter the symbols for multiple companies, separated by commas, to get multiple stock quotes.
- On the Big Charts site, a chart listing all of your stock symbols will be created. It will give you information on the latest stock price and whether it's up or down.
- On the Nasdaq site, you can choose to simply get a stock quote by clicking on the stock quote option. But you can also get tools for analyzing the performance of the stock and deciding whether or not to sell. These include interactive charts, stock analysis reports, company news, financial information and information about holdings and ownership.
- Use this information to decide when to sell the stock. Some people identify a target price or range in which to sell their stock. Other factors that influence the decision to sell include the company's financial performance or changes in ownership of the company
Research the collectible value of the stock certificate.If the company no longer exists or has gone bankrupt, then the stock is worthless. But, if the stock certificate is worthless as a security, it may have some value as a collectible item. The hobby of collecting old stock certificates is called scripophily. To find collectors and dealers, consult , , price and hobby guides at your local library and eBay.
QuestionHow do I sell stock for cash?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
QuestionWhat is the difference between batch selling and market selling?Top AnswererThanks!
QuestionWhat can you do if you cannot find your stock certificate?Top AnswererContact the company's investor-relations department to ask for a replacement. Understand that you don't need the certificate in order to sell the stock.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I sell stock certificates owned by my deceased parents?Top AnswererOpen an account at any brokerage and sell them through the brokerage.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I sell stocks without a medallion stamp?Top AnswererYou don't need a medallion stamp if you sell through a broker.Thanks!
QuestionCan worthless stock from bankrupt companies be listed as a loss on my taxes?Top AnswererYes. It's a capital loss and can be deducted from capital gains.Thanks!
QuestionWhom do I see about buying my stocks in a mining company?Top AnswererIf you don't have a broker, open an account at any brokerage firm and sell your stock through them.Thanks!
QuestionHow do you sell a stock certificates of deceased persons and certificates if they are lost?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou add your policy accounted finance. This may be involved in the stock business district. Call your portfolio adviser for help.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is needed to sell stock certificates of deceased parents if the stock is issued in a foreign country?John CrawfordCommunity AnswerYou need to apply for a brokerage account and then mail them to a broker. Then get it approved by the government.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I sell my stock to another person?Top AnswererThanks!
I have an old stock certificate not in my name, bought online, can it be sold on market?
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