Forgotten stocks in safe deposit box

Question: I was into my safe deposit box and found some shares of Chemical Waste Management, Inc that was taken over by WMX Technologies in 1994. How do I redeem the 54 shares of Chemical Waste Management? The shares have been in a safe deposit box and were a gift to my son when he was much younger and I would like to identify what value if indeed any that they now have. Can you point me in the right direction? David, Wethersfield, CT

Answer: WMX Technologies is now Waste Management. The first thing I would do is contact investor relations at its headquarters in Houston, Texas. The stock symbol is WM.

The company was founded as Waste Management in the late 1960s. In a failed attempt to be cool the company changed its name to WMX Technologies in the 1990s. The name never caught on and management later returned to its roots and once again it was called Waste Management. Since 1994 wasn't all that long ago I'm sure the investor relations folks have dealt with issues like yours. Call them.

Dealing with your old stock certificates is easy because it's relatively new. Some people find much older shares with obscure names. A good place to start their research into whether the certificates are valuable or a fancy engraving for framing is to visit this resource of useful links compiled by the SEC.

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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