Famous 2012 lawsuit claimed an old Palmer Oil stock certificate was worth $130 million of Coca-Cola stock. However, since the holder was never registered as an owner on the original company books, the lawsuit was meritless. You won't get rich with these pieces so we offer them at a significant discount to $130 million. (As always, pieces are sold as collectibles and have no investment value.)
In 2008, Tony Marohn purchased an old oil stock certificate at a garage sale in California. His $5 investment for a 1924 Palmer Union Oil Company certificate inspired research, news stories – and spawned litigation with the Coca-Cola Company. Although Marohn died in 2010, lawyers for Marohn family heirs and Coca-Cola appeared before a skeptical Delaware Chancery Court in January 2012. The family claimed entitlement to $130 million of Coca-Cola stock through a convoluted trail of mergers, acquisitions, and sales that delivered the old Palmer Union Oil stock certificate into their possession. Tony Marohn’s $5 Palmer Union Oil Company stock certificate did not make him a Coca Cola millionaire. As with most obsolete petroleum securities, no ownership in the company or its successors remains.
The Palmer Union Oil Company was incorporated in the state of California on December 5, 1910. In 1932, all of Palmer Union Oil Company’s assets (and liabilities) were sold to form the Palmer Stendel Oil Corporation and shareholders in the former company exchanged their shares for stock in the latter. By 1940, The Robert D. Fisher Manual of Valuable and Worthless Securities reported that Palmer Stendel Oil had “only been able to meet payment of one-half of its bond interest for the past seven or eight years; and the stock is not listed on any Exchange, nor have we heard of any of same being traded in for several years.”
On June 3, 1955, Palmer Stendel Oil recapitalized in California as Petrocarbon Chemicals Incorporated and then reincorporated in Maryland on June 27, 1956. The company operated a petrochemical plant on a 50-acre site near Irving, Texas. In 1957, Petrocarbon Chemicals merged into Great Western Producers, which had been active in Texas and California oilfields as early as 1939.
The Securities and Exchange Commission later reported that Great Western Producers “conducts a banana import business” as well as owning the Pleasant Valley Wine Company of New York. In 1961, Great Western Producers sold its Pleasant Valley Wine Division to Taylor Wine Company. Taylor Wine had been founded in 1880 and produced wine from hardy upstate New York grapes like the Concord. When Great Western Producers liquidated in 1966, its shareholders received cash and shares of Taylor Wine Company stock. Taylor Wine Company merged into Coca-Cola Company on January 1, 1977, and outstanding shares of Taylor Wine were exchanged for Coca-Cola shares.