View Full Version : Stock from 1901

08-12-2005, 10:11 AM
My grandmothers mom past away a few months ago and while she was goin thru a bunch of her stuff she found a stock from Red Bank Telephone company located in PA from 1901 the company was bought out around 1910. I forget the exact name of that company that cought them but they are still around. Im just wondering if the stock could still be worth anything or is it just a piece of worthless paper.

08-12-2005, 10:29 AM
I'd recommend that you go to your public library and research the company in the Directory of Obsolete Securities or the Robert D. Fisher Manual of Valuable and Worthless Securities.

Or you can hire them (http://www.scripophily.net/research.html)
to research for you.

08-12-2005, 12:45 PM
Depending on who it got bought out by and whether they paid in stock or cash, that might be worth quite a bit of money. E.g. if you bought 100 shares of the predecessor of AT&T in 1910, after splits and dividends, that would be worth a very substantial amount.

Alternately, there is a collectors market for old stock certificates. If there's nothing particularly special about the company or your shares, it probably won't be worth that much, but it might be worth putting on Ebay.

Please post an update when you find out. I'm very curious to see how this turns out.

08-13-2005, 05:27 AM
If you Google "Red Bank Telephone", you don't get much, but you do get this account of a meeting in 1905 or so.

Another interesting meeting was at a stockholders meeting of the Red Bank Telephone Co., held in the Brookville County Court House. They had so many stockholders that they could not all get into the Court House, and the largest stockholder only held $20.00 of stock.

This was strictly a farmers' line, each member building the line across his property, buying his own telephone and keeping up the batteries, etc. They had only a single grounded line that reached into three different counties, and they charged each subscriber ten cents per month for switching charges. They had so many telephones on one line, that they could not work a ringing code, but would give a ring and everyone would answer to find out who was wanted.

The only telephone in use then was the old Magento Crank ringer with wet battery. Most of them had a jackknife switch installed in the telephone, so they could cut out the battery while they were listening, and most of them thought so much of their telephone that they had cotton flannel bags to keep them covered up when not in use. You can imagine the service with a single line running into three counties of free service, and with hundreds of subscribers.

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Sounds like an interesting story here. I too want to know what you find out.

08-25-2005, 02:34 PM
I havent had much luck with this i found out that the company that purchased Red Bank has also since sold to another company. Im not 100% sure but i think its Altell telephone company. So im guessing that this stock is most likely worthless execpt to maybe a collector. Its only a 1 share of 10$ so not that big of a deal. I just dont see the point of paying alot of money to get more information on this stock to find out its just a piece of paper. But if anyone else has any usefull info i would like to know.

08-25-2005, 06:48 PM
You might not want to give up this stock just yet. If as another poster reported, that there were lines strung up across private property then there may be some value in the right away rights. This is where the value of old train stocks and such come from. You never know but there may be a string of cell towers on the right of ways right now.

08-26-2005, 07:51 AM
Thats pretty interesting ill have to look into that more because i do think that there may be old lines still running in that town since they try to preserve everything there. Ill have to talk to my grandmother some more about it maybe she can talk to some family up there and find out about the lines.

08-26-2005, 02:23 PM
Im just wondering if the stock could still be worth anything or is it just a piece of worthless paper.

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You can always do what I did with one of my "worthless pieces of paper" and frame the certificate and hang it on your wall. It makes for a nice conversation piece. That's especially true since they don't give out certificates much anymore.

08-29-2005, 06:19 PM
The real problem with stocks (phone/ railway/ and commodities) from the early 1900's is the depression. With mass take-over's, mergers, and BK's... very few stocks are worth the paper they are printed on for certificates dated pre 1922.

If you have a portfolio with Smith & Barney, Amex securites, ect... you can hand over the stock to them and have then evaluate the value for free. However, you'll never get that certificate back (whether it's worthless or not).

08-30-2005, 11:14 PM
I'll just hazard a guess that the final successor corporation is whoever is the local phone service provider now. If any stock from that era has a chance of being worth something, it's probably a telephone stock or similar utility. Utilities usually don't go under, and my guess is that it was bought out as service consolidated. So it might be easier to start with the existing company and work backwards. Or use your grandmother's memory and see how far back she can remember the providers.

Also, don't dismiss the one share at $10. That was a whole lot of money back then and given the power of compound interest, it's potentially worth quite a bit. 3% for 104 years is $216, 5% is $1,598, and 7% is $11,374.

08-30-2005, 11:24 PM
Last time I checked you dont get compound intrest on stocks.....

08-31-2005, 12:08 AM

08-31-2005, 01:40 AM
Since the one reference we have on the Web points to Brookville, PA in Jefferson County, you might try calling the historical society there, as someone may already know something about the company. Pretty cheap to call and ask.

Jefferson County History Center - located at 172-176 Main Street. Phone (814) 849-0077

08-31-2005, 10:40 AM
Yea that was probably going to be my next step thanks for the info.