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A stock certificate is a paper document that represents ownership shares in a corporation.
In the past, when you bought stock, you got a certificate that listed your name as owner, and showed the number of shares and other relevant information. When you sold the stock, you endorsed the certificate and sent it to your broker.
Stock certificates have been phased out, however, and replaced by electronic records. That means you don't have to safeguard the certificates, and can sell shares by giving an order over the phone or online.
The chief objection that's been raised to the new system is largely nostalgic and aesthetic, since the certificates, with their finely engraved borders and images, are distinctive and often beautiful.