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I hope someone can help me with this question. I recently found two stock certificates, one share of Sony under my husband's name and the other one is Disney under my daughter's name (I'm the custodian).

These shares where bought when the company oneshare.com was still around, but they no longer exist. Can someone tell me if I need to register these certificate somewhere or are they already registered?

Since it was given to them in 2011, what do I need to do if we decide to sell our shares?

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    Are you trying to sell the shares, or just wondering if you need to do anything special to ensure they can be traded at a later date? – Hart CO Jan 20 at 14:55
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    Sony seems to have roughly tripled since 2011, so, good one! Disney too has roughly tripled or more since about then! Good one! – Fattie Jan 20 at 15:42
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    In the old days you'd just walk down the street to the office of your stockbroker and hand them in and they would do the rest. I have no idea if today's modern "online!" brokers have that sort of facility ?? – Fattie Jan 20 at 15:44
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    Thank you for all the great responses, I will definitely hold on to them because according to everyone's feedback my share has seem to triple in value. As to answer Hart C, can you help me on how I can trade it down the line, just so I have an idea. Thank you – Ivie Jan 20 at 16:42
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Today, it's not often that people are in possession of stock certificates in this era of electronic trading. In fact, many of today's younger investors/traders don't even know that they exist.

If you want to sell such shares, the easiest way is to deposit them in a brokerage account. It's somewhat akin and not much harder than depositing a check into your bank account, assuming that the shares are in your name.

You need to fill out the information on the back of the certificate (name, date, account number, signature, SSN, etc.). Make a photocopy of both sides of the stock certificate before sending it to the broker.

Here's Fidelity's explanation of the process.

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    It's important to note the fee's that your selected brokerage charges, In my brief searching I've seen $70-200/certificate. – Hart CO Jan 20 at 17:52
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    Good point. It's been 25+ years since I dealt with stock certificates. Back then, depositing a certificate to a brokerage account was very low or even no cost. – Bob Baerker Jan 20 at 17:57
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    It used to be popular to give Disney stock certificates as gifts to children, because they're quite artistic and it's a company kids know about. – Barmar Jan 21 at 13:54
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    What kids want a framed piece of paper? Now, they want $300 Air Jordan sneakers :->) – Bob Baerker Jan 21 at 15:28
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    @HartCO For TD Ameritrade, the fee is $0. ("There is no charge for this service." ) The fee to sell the shares is also $0. – reirab Jan 21 at 21:41
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Neither Sony nor Disney stock has split since 2011, so the value of each is still 1 share. The current value of 1 share of Sony stock is about $103, and 1 share of Disney stock is $174.

While that's nothing to sneeze at, it's not a life changing amount either. I think the novelty of having a physical stock certificate for such popular companies is worth more than the actual face value of the stock. As far as I know you can't purchase real stock certificates from either company anymore (though Disney does offer personalized proof-of-ownership certificates for entertainment purposes).

If they were mine I would consider framing them. They should always theoretically be worth at least as much as a share of stock, and will likely grow in novelty value over time. (Though if someone buys it with intent of cashing it in, the value would potentially be lower due to transaction fees.)

Make sure to photograph them in case they are ever lost or stolen and you need to re-issue, re-register, or sell in the future.

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    You may/should still be able to register them with their respective companies so that you're listed as the "owner of record", so that you can receive (via check in the mail) whatever the quarterly dividend may be. The investor relations page on their website will likely list the transfer agent. – David Jan 20 at 22:08
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    Considering the fee Hart CO mentions on the other answer and the current value -- OP may not even be able to make any profit at all from selling them. I agree that framing them is likely the best thing seeing as neither issues them physically anymore. Perhaps OP's daughter's children can sell these in the future as an antique. – Captain Man Jan 20 at 23:31
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    Nice frame challenge answer. – nwp Jan 21 at 11:22
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    "will likely grow in novelty value over time" — now I want to start an investment fund that just puts all its money in a novelty index. – Paul D. Waite Jan 21 at 13:01
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    SONY and DIS offer DRIP plans. I don't know their minimum share requirement for opening an account but many companies only require that you own one share in order to open a DRIP. The OP has just that. Joining a DRIP might be a workaround to avoid the $70-200/certificate fee for depositing shares to a brokerage account that @Hart CO mentioned. Open DRIP, deposit share in DRIP, sell share. Workaround means that the DRIP charges much less than $70-200/certificate. That was the case decades ago when I began investing via DRIP plans. Today's cost? I dunno. Google for info. – Bob Baerker Jan 21 at 16:52
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First of all, you should have been receiving dividend checks from both Disney and Sony all these years. If you haven't, it probably means that they don't have your current address. The dividends themselves are going to be too small to even worry about for only one share, but you still need to make sure that these companies know who you are and have your current address.

To register a shareholder account with Disney, go to: https://disney.computershare.com/ When you set up your account, you can choose to have your dividend reinvested into partial shares, so you don't have to deal with a tiny check mailed to you anymore.

I don't know exactly what you need to do for Sony, but their Investor Relations website is at: https://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/IR/

The fact that you have an actual Disney stock certificate is kind of special: They no longer issue new stock certificates. The best thing to do is to keep them and not sell them, unless you really need some cash.

If you do decide to sell, then as Bob Baerker's answer mentioned, the normal way to sell stock that you have a certificate for is to contact a broker and give them your stock certificate. They will put your share in their account for you, and then you can sell it very easily on the market. However, the broker might charge a significant fee for transferring the certificate.

An article from Zacks mentions some other possibilities for selling your stock. You could try selling your shares directly to the transfer agent (Computershare for Disney, Citibank for Sony). Alternatively, you can sell your share to someone else by simply signing the stock certificate over to them.

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  • Thank you so much for this very informative response. I will definitely make sure if they are registered. – Ivie Jan 21 at 16:18
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    DIS have paid out over $10 in total dividends since 2011. Worth a phone call or letter to DIS's investor relations group, in my mind. (Maybe I am just cheap bastard.) – R. Hamilton Jan 21 at 18:19

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