A seal is a symbol placed on a formal document or item to authenticate its origination. Government documents often bear the seal of a municipality or office. Seals consist of various images, such as a circle with markings in the middle, a character or a series of words.
Seals are often embossed, engraved or stamped on the document to prevent them from rubbing off and to deter copying. Criminals sometimes attempt to replicate a seal to give the impression that an item is valuable, such as with a certificate of authenticity for a collectible. The more valuable or important a document, the more care that is often put into its seal design to make it hard to replicate.