Company History

History of RM Smythe Old Company Research Service

Old Company Research Service is the successor to RM Smythe Stock Research Service and is the publisher of all material of the Marvyn Scudders Manuals, the Robert D. Fisher Manuals, R.M. Smythe stock research archives, and the Herzog & Co., Inc. obsolete research services. Professional researching of old stock and bond certificates provides information in determining redeemable worth as a financial security and collectible value. Old Stock Certificates may have value and should always be investigated before they are disposed.

In the Beginning
Roland M. Smythe was a colorful character much appreciated by the re- porters of his day. His most noteworthy eccentricity was his well-publicized aversion to the telephone, which he considered a time wasting nuisance. He steadfastly refused to have one installed in his tiny office at 92 Broadway.

Smythe was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1854, and arrived in New York as a young boy. By the time he was twenty three, he had established himself in Wall Street and was a member of the New York Stock Exchange.

Gifted as a statistician, Smythe enjoyed collecting data on stocks and bonds. Other brokers besieged him for information on various companies. Many years later, Smythe claimed that he had tried to discourage them by charging a fee for his research. Finally, he became so busy servicing these requests that he gave up his brokerage business.

Smythe wrote three books on defunct securities which have become classics in the field.  Smythe must be one of the first people to recognize stock and bond certificates as collectors’ items. In conjunction with his research, he was also a dealer in antique certificates, which were always sold with an accompanying letter guaranteeing their worthlessness.  “No Telephone” Smythe died in 1930 at the age of seventy six.

Marvyn Scudder’s name is known to all who have done research on obscure stocks, as he published the first four volumes of “Extinct or Obsolete Companies which later became the Robert D. Fisher manuals. Scudder was active in all kinds of valuation services, such as closely held securities, seldom traded stocks and bonds and thought-to-be-worthless securities for which he was able to find value.

In 1934, Robert D. Fisher took over the business which Marvyn Scudder had begun. Fisher, then 32, had been trained by Scudder and was well informed.  He continued to publish the obsolete securities manuals under his own name and for many years was well known for his careful research. Long the authority in this field, he published the Mining Manuals (1941) and continued the Series to Volume XII.

Robert D. Fisher, Jr. assumed the research activities of his father’s firm, continuing a family tradition, now nearly fifty years old. When increased activity in Wall Street required access to more research material, the Fisher Manuals, long out of print, were produced on microfilm. Volume XIII was published in 1971 and Volume XIV in 1975, both in a joint publishing venture with The New York Times.  Volume XV was completed in 1976

In 1967, the Fisher Organization was acquired by RM Smythe.

In 2011,  Bob Kerstein, founder of, acquired the old stock & bond business research service correspondence, archives and copyrights from Herzog & Co., Inc. (formally R.M. Smythe Old Stock Research Services) from John Herzog. The acquisition included the ownership of all reference material published by the Marvyn Scudders Manuals, the Robert D. Fisher Manuals, and Herzog & Co., Inc.  Our research services have been performed continuously for over 138 years since 1880. also the leading provider of authentic stock certificates, autographs, and old company stock research services.

Bob Kerstein is a CPA and CGMA, and has more than 42 years of senior management experience in the Cellular, Cable TV, Satellite, Internet, Professional Sports and Entertainment Industries. Bob is also the President of the Professional Scripophily Traders Association (PSTA) and Co Founder of Scripophily USA.

Since the acquisition of RM Smythe research service, we have successfully integrated the archives, repositories and resources into our proprietary information management systems. Under the direction of trained old stock research professionals, the data merger has ensured our continual commitment to quality and value with efficient access to this previously hard to recover information for a cost effective price. has had items on loan for display in the Smithsonian’s Museum of Financial History in New York and has also partnered with the Museum of American Finance on stock giveaways for New York area teachers and students.  We have been featured on CNBC, USA Today, Associated Press, Reuters, Nightline, Today Show, Baltimore Sun, and Washington Post and in many other media publications.

Scripophily (scrip-ah-fil-ly) is the name of the hobby of collecting old stock and bond certificates. Certificate values range from a few dollars to more than $1,000,000 for the most unique and rare items. Tens of thousands of Scripophily buyers worldwide include casual collectors, corporate archives, business executives, museums and serious collectors. Due to the computer age, more and more stock and bonds are issued electronically which means fewer paper certificates are being issued. As a result, demand for paper certificates is increasing while supply is decreasing.

If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 703-787-3552.