I have only ever bought one stock, and I did it on a whim ($100 whim) online. I know my broker mails me a small phone book when I pick new funds for my IRAs, but I honestly don't remember getting anything for my shares in the company.

I was talking about when people find some long lost original shares of Coke in a family chest in the attic of a house they are selling. After years of splits and whatever they are suddenly rich.

Can you still get a certificate? Are they only for special people / occasions? Is there any advantage to having an actual physical note instead of a website?


3 Answers 3


Yes, indeed. For example, Ford Motor Company's website has a bit about them.

Is there any advantage to having an actual physical note instead of a website?

You can safeguard them yourself. Which may or may not be a good thing. It certainly brings up a bit of hassle and extra costs if you want to sell them. Though you can have lost certificates replaced, so there is more to it than just having physical possession of the certificates.

  • Need to remember though that not all the companies issue paper certificates, and not all the brokers are handling them. IMHO paper certificates are no longer mandatory.
    – littleadv
    Jul 15, 2011 at 19:09

Yes you can get them from your broker. Two main advantages I can see are:

  1. You have physical control over the stock you own. You are free to sell it on your own without a broker if you want.
  2. When you have a certificate in your name instead of "street name" the company will mail you their annual report and proxy statement without you having to ask. You can also have them mail you quarterly reports if you want.
  • hard to pick a winner, so I will go with the first response.
    – MrChrister
    Aug 25, 2010 at 4:28
  • 3
    @MrChrister. Thanks for the rep points. But if you truly wanter to give those to the person who answered first. That was @George Marian
    – mpenrow
    Aug 25, 2010 at 11:38
  • 1
    A tip of the hat to you mpenrow. Aug 25, 2010 at 17:31

Yes you can.

One additional "advantage" of getting the physical certificate is you can use it to transfer your account from one brokerage to another. You get the certificates in the mail and then just send them to the new broker.

Why anyone would want to go through this extra work (and usually added expense) rather than a direct transfer is beyond me but it is one additional "advantage" of physical certificates.

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