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Fractional stock certificates represent ownership of less than one share of stock. Fractional certificates are most common among railroads that sold stock with $100 par values.
Fractional stock certificates often include the word scrip in the title. Although the origins are seldom stated on certificates, it seems like most fractional stock certificates probably represented dividend payments made to stockholders, but which were redeemable only by the purchase of more shares.
Fractional certificates seldom show vignettes. As a general rule, collectors pay significantly less for fractional certificates than regular stock certificates unless the companies are extremely rare.
Fractional bond certificates represented loans in amounts smaller than the smallest bonds that companies issued. Most fractional bonds represented down payments on $1,000 bonds.
Depending on the company, fractional bonds were also called fractional bond scrip or fractional bond warrants. Some companies made interest payments to bond holders with these certificates and then made them redeemable only through the purchase of company stocks or bonds.
Like fractional stock certificates, fractional bonds are generally plain in appearance. They seldom show vignettes. As a rule, fractional bonds include a large amount of text explaining redemption policies and dates.
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