What is a 'Share Certificate'

A share certificate is a written document signed on behalf of a corporation, and serves as legal proof of ownership of the number of shares indicated.

Also referred to as a "stock certificate".

BREAKING DOWN 'Share Certificate'

In modern financial markets, individual investors rarely take physical possession of their share certificates. "Scripophily" is a term that signifies the collecting of share certificates and other forms of paper based financial securities. Similar to stamp collecting or bank note collecting, a share certificate's value is dependent on its condition and age.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. How do you get a hard copy of a stock certificate?

    Before online brokers and personally-directed accounts, holding a physical stock certificate was a necessity, as this was ... Read Answer >>
  2. I hold stock certificates in a company that just had a stock split. What happens ...

    The short answer is that a stock split will have little effect on the holder of stock certificates. In most cases when an ... Read Answer >>
  3. I lost my share certificate. Do I still own the stock?

    Regardless of whether a shareholder loses his or her stock certificate, that person still owns the shares. However, in order ... Read Answer >>
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