Stock Certificate

DEFINITION of 'Stock Certificate'

The physical piece of paper representing ownership in a company. Stock certificates will include information such as the number of shares owned, the date, an identification number, usually a corporate seal, and signatures. They are a bit bigger than normal piece of paper and most of them have intricate designs to discourage fraudulent replication.

BREAKING DOWN 'Stock Certificate'

Stocks are the foundation of nearly every portfolio and they represent partial ownership in a company. Usually the records of ownership are kept in electronic form but you can request a paper version. Each certificate starts out as a standard design which might change throughout the years, then the date, identification number, and other information is added. Most signatures of executives are printed on the certificate but some will actually be signed with a pen.

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