Q: My father was always buying stocks and bonds. When he died, I inherited two certificates for 100 shares of stock in Cobalt Silver Queen Ltd. They are dated Dec. 12, 1908. Can you tell me anything about this company and what the value of these certificates might be?
A: Cobalt Silver Queen Ltd. was organized in 1906 in Cobalt, Ontario, Canada. Silver was discovered in the area in 1903, and by 1905 prospectors and mining companies were rushing to the area to stake claims. Cobalt Silver Queen mined silver and cobalt. Stock in the company was offered for $1.50 per share in 1908. By the 1930s, most of the mines had closed. Stock certificates for companies that are no longer in business may be redeemable (ask your library for help) or collectible. Collectors look for certificates with historical value, elaborate engraved designs, interesting graphics or the signature of a well-known person. The hobby of collecting old stock and bond certificates is called “scripophily.” Certificates are bought and sold online as well as at auctions.