Helpful tips for researching and sharing information about old companies.
As part of its energy education mission for supporting members, the American Oil & Gas Historical Society offers resources for researching old and often obscure petroleum company histories. A forum is maintained for researchers as a way to share ideas. Please note that the information contained in this website is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
To begin research, look for your company in the extensive research posted on Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?
You are then invited to post questions about your certificate in the comments section on our Stock Certificate Q&A Forum.
Check with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which has a small post about Old Stock and Bond Certificates.
Please note that the American Oil & Gas Historical Society does not recommend or endorse these entities, their personnel, or their products or services.
Available at some libraries, the Directory of Active Stocks and Obsolete Securities is published by Financial Information, Inc., Jersey City, N.J.
Moody’s Industrial Manual and Moody’s OTC Industrial Manual. Published annually by Mergent Company, the guide offers brief summaries of companies’ histories, backgrounds, mergers and acquisitions, subsidiaries, principal plants, and properties.
Robert D. Fisher Manual of Valuable & Worthless Securities – a list of companies whose securities are worthless, have been liquidated, or exchanged. Available from R.M. Smythe Co., Inc., New York, N.Y. The rights to the manual belong to Scripophily.com, which provides research services through subsidiary Oldcompany.com.
For detailed contact information for these and other resources, see the useful Washington State Department of Financial Institutions website, Oil Stock Certificates. Find this information helpful? Please support the American Oil & Gas Historical Society and this website with a donation.
Because the following is a summary (and includes information for articles), the society seeks companies interested in sponsoring additional research.
For certificate collector research, there are “scripophily” companies that offer fee-based answers:
• Did the company fail?
• Is it in business under a new name?
• Was it acquired by another company?
• How do I contact the current company?
• Does the certificate have collector value?
Have a question?
You are invited to submit your query in our Stock Certificate Q&A forum section — where everyone can share their research. Many posts include little information about the stock certificate or company in question to better share research. Stock certificates have a wealth of information to help your research into “what happened?” online.
If you have it, post the stock certificate’s state of incorporation, dates, CUSIP – Committee on Uniform Securities Identification Procedures – number (if available). Also include the company president and any other officers – or any clue could very useful. Without this kind of information, little can be found.
Why are so many companies incorporated in Delaware? Although all states have general corporation laws, provisions in Delaware law have made the state a preferred legal host for newly forming companies. Among the provisions are simplified procedures; low corporate taxes; and broad powers granted to the corporation.
Delaware registered companies can do business in other states, hold stocks and bonds of other companies, and conduct mergers. Some provisions also protect shareholders from liability. Further, a special court, Delaware’s Court of Chancery, rules on corporate law disputes without juries. Today, More than half of all publicly traded companies in the United States incorporate in Delaware.
The stories of many exploration companies trying to join petroleum booms (and avoid busts) can be found in an updated series of research in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything?
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