Published 12 April 2017
$2 Bill History
The $2 Dollar Bill is America’s Rarest Current Denomination of US Currency
The $2 dollar bill is America’s rarest small denomination in the US Currency. The unique history of the $2 bill has given the note an air of mystery and legend. If you have a $2 dollar bill in your wallet, it is always an instant conversation starter at parties and events where tipping is appropriate. This page outlines the history of the $2 dollar bill along with its many changes over the years.
On 25 June, 1776, the Continental Congress authorized the issue of two-dollar bills of credit for the defense of the America. Only 49,000 bills were issued at that time. The two-dollar bill was first commissioned in March, 1862. The two-dollar denomination was discontinued from 1966 until 1976 when use of the two-dollar bill was resumed as part of the United States bicentennial celebration. The two-dollar bill was last issued in 2003.
How Rare is the $2 Dollar Bill?
Low printing numbers starting in the 1950s resulted in the $2 dollar bill becoming the rarest current denomination of US Currency. This rarity caused people to hoard any $2 bills they come across and as a result this decreased the circulation of the $2 dollar bill even more. Today the $2 dollar bill constitute around 1% of all notes in US circulation.
Growing Popularity of the $2 Dollar Bill
Today the $2 dollar bill is growing in popularity. In 2005 alone, 61 million $2 bills were printed. This is more than twice the number of $2 bills that were printed annually between 1990 and 2001.
One reason for the increased popularity is the $2 dollar bill is becoming more frequently used as change where tipping is encouraged. For example, $2 dollar bills are popular in some bars and night clubs, especially gentleman’s clubs and poker rooms. The reason many gentleman’s clubs give change using $2 bills is to encourage larger tips.The $2 dollar bill is also seen as a unique way to give a gift of money.
Is the $2 Dollar Bill Still in Circulation?
There is a common misconception that the $2 bill is no longer in circulation. However, that is not the case as the official Bureau of Engraving and Printing Web site lists the $2 Dollar Bill as one of the U.S. Currency Small Denominations.
What is a $2 Dollar Bill worth?
Typically the $2 bill is worth its face value. Special $2 bills have been made in recent years, however they are not worth anything more than face value on the collectors market and most current $2 bills are not worth much more than their face value.
Legends, Myths and Factoids
Several legends have arisen around the $2 dollar bill over time:
The scene of the Declaration of Independence that appears on the bill’s reverse is not a perfect duplicate of the John Trumbull painting. Five figures were removed to make the image fit the bill
In 2004, President Jefferson’s estate and home Monticello had an admission price of $13. As a results most people required $2 dollars in change. The staff at Monticello would hand out $2 dollar bills featuring President Jefferson’s portrait as change for admission to his estate.
A two-dollar bill is often used as a tracer by small stores to track robberies. A store clerk can keep a two-dollar bill at the bottom of their one-dollar bill slot in the cash drawer with its serial number recorded in case of robbery.
In 2005 Stuart Woods wrote a novel called “Two Dollar Bill.” One of the major characters made it a point to always tip with two-dollar bills.
The two-dollar bill has a long association with horseracing and was popular at racetracks for placing a two-dollar bet.
Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computing, buys two dollars by the sheet from the Treasury Department. He then has them bound into a booklet and the bills act as “tear off” pages.
1862 $2 Legal Tender Note
In March 1862, the first $2 bill was issued as a Legal Tender Note.
This $2 bill features a profile portrait of Alexander Hamilton.
1869 $2 United State Note
By 1869 the $2 United States Note was redesigned with a portrait of Thomas Jefferson. to the left.
The $2 note also features a vignette of the United States Capitol in the center of the obverse (front).
1896 “Educational Series” $2 Silver Certificate
This is an image of the Obverse (front) of the 1896 $2 “Educational Series” Silver Certificate.
This $2 note featured artwork of an allegorical figure of science presenting steam and electricity to commerce and manufacture.
1952 $2 Dollar Bill
In 1953 the $2 bill received design changes similar to the $5 United States Note.
The treasury seal was made smaller and moved to the right side of the bill and it was superimposed over the gray word TWO.
The United States Note obligation also became superimposed over a gray numeral 2.
The reverse (back) featured Thomas Jefferson’s estate and home of Monticello in Virginia.
1976 Bicentennial $2 Dollar Bill
The $2 bills was officially discontinued in August 1966 until 1976 when the Treasury Department reintroduced the $2 bill as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration.
The $2 note was redesigned and issued as a Federal Reserve Note.
Uncut $2 Currency Sheets
Uncut currency sheets are available from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
Uncut sheets of $2 bills are available in various sizes. A 32-subject sheet, which is the original size sheet that the notes are printed on, is available. Other sheet sizes available have been cut from the original 32-subject sheet. These include half (16-note), quarter (8-note), and eighth (4-note) sheets for $2 bills.
Uncut sheets range in price from $21 to $90 from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Uncut sheets also come up frequently for auction online on eBay.
(c) 2011 – 2014 – $2 Dollar Bill Company – www.2DollarBill.org