Sharing history about the U.S. petroleum exploration and production industry.


You found an old petroleum stock certificate in your attic and hope you might be a millionaire. Unlikely, but here is a free discussion forum about old oil companies. Be sure to check the more than 100 old oil companies already researched in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? 

Welcome to the American Oil & Gas Historical Society’s discussion page for often obscure petroleum stock certificates. Although the U.S. oil and natural gas industry, launched by an 1859 oil discovery in Titusville, Pennsylvania, has drilled millions of wells, chances are the certificate you found will not make you rich.

old oil companies

Some old oil company stocks have value to collectors, including some artistic rendering like this vignette from a Shell Oil Company engraved certificate.

As Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin notes in his book, The Prize, boom-and-bust cycles since American oil well in 1859 have witnessed the rise and fall of many thousands of exploration companies. Your grandparents’ certificates are likely among the many casualties of a bust cycle. Please note that the information provided by AOGHS is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

SEC: Little Value in Outdated Securities

Unless it is a rare collectible, few certificates have commercial value today. However, scripophily, the collection of antique stocks and bonds, is growing more popular. “Certificates are valued for their vignettes, which often depict bygone industries and times, and their historical significance,” notes one collector.

For information about certificates in general, visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange – SEC – website. Again, most old stock certificates have limited value, except perhaps to collectors. There are research tips in Oil Stocks.

AOGHS support advertisementYou are invited to post your petroleum-related certificate questions. Before seeking answers, search for your stock on this forum’s posts. Details and a specific question here are more likely to elicit helpful responses from other visitors.

In time, this sharing of comments could help produce useful research sources.

See if information about your petroleum stock certificate already has been posted in Is my Old Oil Stock worth Anything? There also may be helpful links on this website’s Resources page.

Importantly, this Q&A forum offers researchers a simple way to share ideas. Information is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This is an energy education service and not an interpretation of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission policies and regulations.

The American Oil & Gas Historical Society preserves U.S. petroleum history. Become an AOGHS supporting member and help maintain this energy education website and expand historical research. For more information, contact © 2020 AOGHS.



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