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My mom recently passed away and when we searched her safe deposit box to find she left me two 100-share stock certificates to Richfield Oil, a forerunner of ARCO, which recently got gobbled by BP/Amoco. The certs date to 1934.

The certificates are made out in the street name Winthrop Mitchell & Co., and endorsed by Mr. Mitchell on the back. I have checked NASD and there never has been a broker with this name. There is little chance, short of a geneaology search, to find this guy.

The merrygoround of contacting transfer agents started with ARCO, prior to its purchase by BP. ARCO said to contact First Chicago, its current transfer agent, so ownership of the stock could be completed. Obviously, the stock has had some movement over the years. 200 shares might actually be more, in today's market, what with splits, etc.

However, First Chicago said it wasn't the transfer agent when the certificates were issued. That was Bank of America. Lucky me. They are still around. However, Bank of America now uses Chase Mellon for its shareholder services. The representative at Chase said it did not have records dating back that far for BofA. Of course, I am doubting this totally. Somewhere, in the bowels of some building, probably in L.A., are the records identifying these certificates.

Now, to complicate matters, ARCO recently was purchased by Amococ, which shortly thereafter was purchased by BP. Now, ARCO shares are being redeemed for BP shares.

I would like some direction as to how to go about redeeming these shares. I believe, since the certificates are already endorsed, that I simply need to put my name on them and they are -- badda bing -- transferred to me! Is this correct?

Any help, advice, war stories, whatever, would be greatly appreciated.
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