Apparently she, for some reason, bought some Apple shares back in the 90's. No idea why because she had no idea about computers! I wish we could find out why.
Unfortunately the state seized it as abandoned property (I moved a couple of times since and I never updated my address with the stock transfer agent) and I'm in the process of trying to reclaim the stock now. :(
I mean...don't people keep stock certs in safety deposit boxes and soforth? Does the sec mail you ever year asking if your heart is still beating or something?
Since I actually have the certificate (well, not anymore, I had to send in the original certificate to the state as proof of ownership), getting the stock back is a straightforward process. But until the state relinquishes its claim, the stock certificate literally isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
People pay good money for cancelled stock certificates.
Years ago as a kid, I invested a tiny amount and the broker was so adamant I was making a mistake that he made me sign an acknowledgement that I was acting on my own wishes against his advice.
For a more fun example: http://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ%3Adndn
At least that's their excuse... :)