If we rewind to 1862, we’ll find something that people today might not have ever seen — a two-dollar bill. The first face of the bill was Alexander Hamilton, although it kept changing with every passing decade.
These bills were not so popular when they were first legalized. In those days, most products and services were under a dollar. The shopkeepers were only concerned with a few pennies and nickels, so things rarely got to two dollars.
Since the bill did not have much use in the market, it was often used for unethical deeds, everything from bribes to gambling, which added even more merit to its discontinuation. Taking this and many other reasons into account, the treasury decided to discontinue the production of 2-dollar bills in 1963.
However, in 1975, the US treasury reintroduced this bill with a smaller size and a new look. There still isn’t much practical use of the bill, but it has become a collectors’ item, and you can still use a 2-dollar bill anywhere in the US.
If we look at the stats, two-dollar bills are still circulating, but they are the least produced currency notes in the US. Currently, there are only 1.3 billion 2-dollar bills in 2019, which constitutes just 1% of the total US currency. This, compared to the 11.7 billion 1 dollar bills, makes them the rarest bills to exist.
During the bill’s early years, it didn’t get much use in the market. There wasn’t much wealth in the country, so the goods and services barely cost a dollar. However, there were other uses of the bill, ones that were rather iniquitous. The politicians favored this bill to bribe people for votes. It was also a clear indicator that you either gambled or were involved in prostitution. Because of the bill’s reputation and large value, people were hesitant to keep it in their wallets.
When the bill came back in 1975, inflation rose, and so people started using it for convenience. Since then, the 2-dollar bill has been in circulation. You might be surprised to hear that up until 2019, 2-dollar bills were still being printed. But, according to the US treasury, there will be more 2-dollar bills in the future.
This clears the air on whether you can use the bill or not. Of course, many collectors would think otherwise and advise you not to spend it. But if you don’t have change and need to pay for something, a 2-dollar bill would be perfect. However, a 2-dollar bill is still the rarest of all notes that are currently circulating.
When determining the worth of these 2-dollar bills, there are a few elements to consider. As a general rule, the older the bill, the higher its value. So, banknotes issued before 1928 have a higher value. However, the earliest banknotes issued in 1800 have the greatest worth.
The circulated bills are around $60 in excellent condition, while the uncirculated banknotes may be valued anywhere from $100 to $200. In the same way, circulated banknotes made after 1953 are worth $10, whereas uncirculated bills are valued at about $25. Because the US Treasury temporarily discontinued printing two-dollar notes in 1963, circulated bills issued that year and the following years have a current worth of $9 to $20.
Revived back in 1976, the 2-dollar bills were in the printing press until 2019. So, if we were to estimate the value of these bills, the circulated bills are worth nothing but their face value, while the uncirculated bills are worth around $5 to $10.
If we go back to 1862, the year when the first two-dollar bill was printed, we can regard those notes as highly valuable. These are large-sized bills whose value can go anywhere from $500 to $10,000. They are highly collectible and extremely rare to find. If you happen to have one, make sure you don’t trade it or spend it for something that’s just $2!
Apart from this, there are a few other factors that determine the value of a bill. We talked about the circulated and the uncirculated bills and found that the uncirculated bills are worth more. This is because the condition of the uncirculated bills is as mint and good as new, which makes them truly valuable.
Another factor is the serial number. Some collectors look for specific series and judge their value based on the numbers. Palindromic serial numbers, repeated, and numbers starting with a star are generally more valued. You can also look at the seal to judge a bill’s importance. A red seal puts it above all other seals; next comes a brown seal, followed by a green seal.
Lastly, there were also a few misprints during the 1900s, so if you find one that looks odd, it will probably be more valuable and rarer than you may think.
The fascination with two-dollar notes is justified, and if you want to collect them, there are a few ways to do so. The first place to look for a bill issued after 1976 is your local bank. Since these bills came back in 2019, there is a high chance that most banks have them available on hand. If not, you can request to get it from the vault.
If you want an even older bill, you will have to go to an auction to find collectors looking to sell their bills. You can also go to a more senior family member, like your grandparents, and see if they have anything they may be willing to give you. Lastly, if you want those early bills from the 1800s, you might have to spend a lot of effort finding one and then having the money to buy it.
Starting with a bad reputation and association with bad luck, the 2-dollar bill has now become one of the rarest and most valuable currencies. The rise in inflation gave the bill a chance to make a comeback. Although the shopkeepers widely used it at one point, the bills couldn’t score a permanent place in their registers or cash drawers. Soon, the collectors started taking an interest, and it became a collector’s item.
The initial aim was to minimize the printing cost of the currency by introducing one bill that would cater to two. Since the idea was successful to some extent, printing continued up until 2019. While businesses acknowledged its convenience, people stuck with other bills, and the 2-dollar bill didn’t get much use.
Are you a curious collector or someone who has never even seen a 2-dollar bill? The good news is there is a possibility that the 2-dollar bill will be in printing again soon. The idea is what it always has been—introducing a bill that could cover for two, minimizing the printing cost.
The future of the 2-dollar bill is still up in the air. There is no certainty as to what it will bring along next. But until then, this bill has gained the attention of many collectors and is doing pretty well in that regard.
Meta description: Have you ever seen a two-dollar bill? Let’s take a trip back in time for a quick recap on these bills and what they are worth today.