Stock certificate

A stock certificate is a document that identifies an investor's ownership share in a corporation. A certificate usually contains the following information:

Stock certificates typically contain elaborate designs and etchings, which make them more difficult to fraudulently replicate.

Investors in publicly held companies rarely see the underlying stock certificates; these documents are kept in storage, while electronic shares are traded.

A stock certificate may contain a trading restriction on its face or back, noting that the certificate cannot be sold. If not restricted, a shareholder can sell a stock certificate.