chapter
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of 2 00 record groups)

The certificate was "lost" at the turn of the century in New York amidst the tangled financial affairs of two entrepreneurial giants. At the time of its issuance in the 1880s, the certificate was worth only a few hundred dollars interest in a land trust which managed a relatively barren empire of grazing land in West Texas. Thirty to forty years later, the vast acreage turned out to be sitting

atop some of the richest oil and gas deposits in the continental United States. Legal claims to be the fortune that the missing cer­ tificate represented filled court dockets in New York, Massachusetts and Texas for decades. In 1977, upon chance reading of a newspaper article on famous

missing certificates, two Wells Fargo officers familiar with the Ar­ chives project remembered seeing a certificate similar to Texas Pacific #390 among some miscellaneous documents acquired from an old Wells Fargo office in New York which had closed shortly after the turn of the century. After a brief search, certificate #390-now worth several million dollars-was found. With it was a tattered envelope and several faded documents. From there, the Ar­

chives staff spent hours piecing together the fragmented jigsaw puz­ zle that represented the certificate's history.