United States two-dollar bill

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Two dollars
(United States)
Value $2.00
Width 156 mm
Height 66.3 mm
Weight Approx. 1 g
Security features None
Paper type 75% cotton
25% linen
Years of printing 1862–1966,
1976–present (Federal Reserve Note, current form)
US $2 bill obverse series 2003 A.jpg
Design Thomas Jefferson
Design date 1928
US $2 bill reverse series 2003 A.jpg
Design Trumbull's Declaration of Independence
Design date 1976

The United States two-dollar bill ($2) is a current denomination of U.S. currency. The third U.S. President (1801–09), Thomas Jefferson, is featured on the obverse of the note. The reverse features the painting The Declaration of Independence by John Trumbull. Throughout the $2 bill's pre-1929 life as a large-sized note, it was issued as a United States Note, National Bank Note, silver certificate, and Treasury or "Coin" Note. When U.S. currency was changed to its current size, the $2 bill was issued only as a United States Note. Production went on until 1966, when the series was discontinued. Ten years went by before the $2 bill was reissued as a Federal Reserve Note with a new reverse design. $2 bills are seldom seen in circulation as a result of banking policies with businesses which has resulted in low production numbers due to lack of demand. This comparative scarcity in circulation, coupled with a lack of public knowledge that the bill is still in production and circulation, has also inspired urban legends and occasionally has created problems for people trying to use the bill to make purchases.

Denomination overview[edit]

The denomination of two dollars was authorized under a congressional act, and first used in March 1862.[1] The denomination was continuously used until the 1960s; by this time the United States Note was the only remaining class of U.S. currency the two dollar bill was assigned to. In 1966 it was decided to discontinue all two dollar United States Notes from production.[2] The $2 bill initially was not reassigned to the Federal Reserve Note class of United States currency and was thus fully discontinued; the Treasury Department cited the $2 bill's low use and unpopularity as the reason for not immediately resuming use of the denomination. In 1976 production of the two-dollar denomination was resumed and the two-dollar bill was finally assigned as a Federal Reserve Note, with a new reverse design featuring John Trumbull's depiction of the drafting of the United States Declaration of Independence replacing the previous design of Monticello. It has remained a current denomination since then.[3] It was estimated that if the two-dollar bill replaced approximately half of the one-dollar bills in circulation, the federal government would be able to save about $26 million in 1976 dollars ($109 million adjusted for inflation)[4] over the period from 1976 to 1981, due to reduced production, storage, and shipping costs.[5]

However, due to its limited use, two-dollar bills are not frequently reissued in a new series like other denominations which are printed according to demand.[6] Though some cash registers accommodate it, its slot is often used for things like checks and rolls of coins. Some bill acceptors found in vending machines, self checkout lanes, and other automated kiosks are configured to accommodate two-dollar bills, even if the fact is not stated on the label.[7] Although they usually are not handed out arbitrarily, two-dollar bills are usually available at banks. Many banks stocking $2 bills will not use them except upon specific request by the customer, and even then, may cause a delay with a trip to the vault.[8]


The seeming rarity of a $2 bill can be attributed to its low printing numbers as a Federal Reserve Note. Hoarding of the series due to lack of public knowledge of the $2 bill has resulted in very few bills seen in circulation. After its initial release, supplies of the Series 1976 $2 bill were allowed to dwindle until August 1996 when a new series dated 1995 finally began to be printed. This series however, was only printed for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.[9]

Today, there is a common misconception by the general public that the $2 bill is no longer in production. According to the Treasury, it "receives many letters asking why the $2 bill is no longer in circulation".[10] In response, the Treasury stated: "The $2 bill remains one of our circulating currency denominations... As of April 30, 2007 there were $1,549,052,714 worth of $2 bills in circulation worldwide."

Another popular misconception is that the average $2 bill is worth more than its face value, an exception to this would be if the two dollar bill carries a premium on the collector market.[clarification needed] Things such as unusual serial numbers (example: A11111111A), and replacement notes designated by a star can raise the collector value. "Collectible" $2 bills have been made and sold by coin dealers and others in recent years merely by adding special graphics with a computer printer. However, they are not authorized by the BEP and are not worth anything more than face value on the collectors' market.[11]

Certain conventions and tourism/convention bureaus capitalize on the rarity of $2 bills in circulation, encouraging convention attendees and tourists to spend $2 bills in order to illustrate to the host communities the economic impact that the conventions and tourism bring. Sometimes known as "SpendTom" campaigns, the $2 bills linger in the community as a constant reminder. Some campaigns encourage people to participate in a hunt for the bills in order to win prizes.[12]


Large size notes[edit]

First $2 bill issued in 1862 as a Legal Tender Note.
Series 1886 $2 Silver Certificate depicting Winfield Scott Hancock
Robert Fulton and Samuel Morse depicted on the reverse of the 1896 $2 'Educational Series" Silver Certificate.

(approximately 7.4218 × 3.125 in ≅ 189 × 79 mm)

In March 1862, the first $2 bill was issued as a Legal Tender Note (United States Note) with a portrait of Alexander Hamilton; the portrait of Hamilton used was a profile view and is unlike the portrait used currently for the $10 bill.

By 1869, the $2 United States Note was redesigned with the now familiar portrait of Thomas Jefferson to the left and a vignette of the United States Capitol in the center of the obverse. This note also featured green tinting on the top and left side of the obverse. Although this note is technically a United States Note, TREASURY NOTE appeared on it instead of UNITED STATES NOTE. The reverse was completely redesigned. This series was again revised in 1874, changes on the obverse included removing the green tinting, adding a red floral design around WASHINGTON D.C., and changing the term TREASURY NOTE to UNITED STATES NOTE. The 1874 design was also issued as Series of 1875 and 1878 and by 1880 the red floral design around WASHINGTON D.C. on the United States Note was removed and the serial numbers were changed to blue. This note with the red floral design was also issued as Series of 1917 but with red serial numbers by that time.[13]

National Bank Notes were issued in 1875 and feature a woman unfurling a flag and a big 2 (Lazy Duce) on the obverse, the reverse has the king of England smoking tobacco and an eagle with a shield.[14]

In 1886, the first $2 silver certificate with a portrait of United States Civil War General Winfield Scott Hancock on the left of the obverse was issued. This design went on until 1891 when a new $2 Silver Certificate was issued with a portrait of U.S. Treasury Secretary William Windom in the center of the obverse.[15]

Two-dollar Treasury or "Coin Notes" were first issued for government purchases of silver bullion in 1890 from the silver mining industry. The reverse featured large wording of TWO in the center and a numeral 2 to the right surrounded by an ornate design that occupied almost the entire note. In 1891 the reverse of the Series of 1890 Treasury Note was redesigned because the treasury felt that it was too "busy" which would make it too easy to counterfeit. More open space was incorporated into the new design.[16]

In 1896, the "Educational Series" Silver Certificate was issued. The entire obverse of the note was covered in artwork with an allegorical figure of science presenting steam and electricity to commerce and manufacture. The reverse of the note featured portraits of Robert Fulton and Samuel F. B. Morse surrounded by an ornate design that occupied almost the entire note. By 1899, however, The $2 Silver Certificate was redesigned with a small portrait of George Washington surrounded by allegorical figures representing agriculture and mechanics.[17]

The only large-sized, Federal Reserve Note–like $2 bill was issued in 1918 as a Federal Reserve Bank Note. Each note was an obligation of the issuing Federal Reserve Bank and could only be redeemed at the corresponding bank. The obverse of the note featured a border-less portrait of Thomas Jefferson to left and wording in the entire center. The reverse featured a World War I battleship.[18]

Small size notes[edit]

(6.14 × 2.61 in ≅ 156 × 66 mm)


In 1928, when all U.S. currency was changed to its current size, the $2 bill was issued only as a United States Note. The obverse featured a cropped version of Thomas Jefferson's portrait that had been on previous $2 bills. The reverse featured Jefferson's home, Monticello. The note's seal and serial numbers were red. The Series of 1928 $2 bill featured the treasury seal superimposed by the United States Note obligation to the left and a large gray TWO to the right.[19]

In 1953 the $2 bill received minor design changes analogous to the $5 United States Note. The treasury seal was made smaller and moved to the right side of the bill; it was superimposed over the gray word TWO. The United States Note obligation now became superimposed over a gray numeral 2. The reverse remained unchanged.[20]

The final change to $2 United States Notes came in 1963 when the motto IN GOD WE TRUST was added to the reverse over the Monticello.[21] And, because dollar bills were soon to no longer be redeemable in silver, WILL PAY TO THE BEARER ON DEMAND was removed from the obverse. These $2 bills were officially discontinued in August 1966, although they remain legal tender.


Series 1976 first day of issue $2 bill with a canceled JFK postage stamp.

On April 13, 1976, the Treasury Department reintroduced the $2 bill as a cost-saving measure.[22] Series 1976 $2 bills were redesigned and issued as a Federal Reserve Note. The obverse design remains basically unchanged since 1928 and features the same portrait of Jefferson. A green treasury seal and serial numbers replace the red used on the previous United States Notes. Since the reissue of the bill coincided with the United States Bicentennial, it was decided to use a bicentennial themed design on the reverse. An engraved rendition of John Trumbull's The Declaration of Independence replaced Monticello on the reverse. First day issues of the new $2 bills could be taken to a post office and stamped with the date "APR 13 1976". In all, 590,720,000 notes from Series 1976 were printed.

In 1996 and 1997, 153,600,000 bills were printed[23] as Series 1995 for the Federal Reserve District of Atlanta. In 2004, 121,600,000 of the Series 2003 bills were printed for the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank. An issue of Series 2003A $2 bills was printed from July to September 2006 for all 12 Federal Reserve Banks. In all, 220,800,000 notes were printed. [24]

In February 2012, the B.E.P. printed 512,000 Series 2009 $2 Star Notes, in anticipation of more regular runs being printed later in 2012. Series 2009 $2 bills were issued to banks during the summer of 2012.[25][26]

In November 2013, the B.E.P. began printing series 2013 $2 bills for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; these notes entered circulation in early 2014. A total of 44,800,000 notes were ordered for fiscal year 2014, which ran from October 2013 through September 2014.[27]

Series dates[edit]

Large size[edit]

Series 1880 $2 Legal Tender note showing a large brown treasury seal. The signatures of Blanche Bruce & A. U. Wyman. are present on the obverse near the bottom
Type Series Registerα Treasurerα Sealα Notes
Legal Tender Note 1862 Lucius E. Chittenden F.E. Spinner Small Red w/rays Also called a "Greenback".
Legal Tender Note 1869 John Allison F.E. Spinner Large Red Nicknamed: "Rainbow Note" from its
red, white, and blue colors.[28]
Legal Tender Note 1874 John Allison F.E. Spinner Small Red w/rays
Legal Tender Note 1875 John Allison New & Wyman Small Red w/rays
Legal Tender Note 1878 Allison & Scofield James Gilfillan Small Red w/rays Scofield/Gilfillan combo is scarce
Legal Tender Note 1880 Scofield, Bruce,
Rosecrans, and Tillman
Gilfillan, Wyman, Huston,
Nebeker, and Morgan
Large Brown/Red
Small Red scalloped
Legal Tender Note 1917 Teehee, Elliott,
and Speelman
John Burke & White Small Red scalloped
National Bank Note Original Colby, Jeffries, and Allison F.E. Spinner Small Red w/rays Jeffries/Spinner combo is very rare
National Bank Note 1875 Allison & Scofield New, Wyman, and Gilfillan Small Red scalloped Nicknamed: "Lazy Deuce" along with
the original series from the position
of the "2" on the note.[29]
Silver Certificate 1886 William S. Rosecrans Jordan, Hyatt, and Huston Large Brown/Red
Small Red scalloped
Silver Certificate 1891 Rosecrans & Tillman Nebecker & Morgan Small Red scalloped
Silver Certificate 1896 Tillman & Bruce Morgan & Roberts Small Red w/rays Part of the "Educational Series".
Silver Certificate 1899 Lyons, Vernon, Napier,
Parker, Teehee, Elliott,
and Speelman
Roberts, Treat, McClung,
Thompson, Burke, and White
Treasury Note 1890 William S. Rosecrans Huston & Nebecker Large Brown
& Small Red scalloped
Treasury Note 1891 Rosecrans, Tillman, and Bruce Nebecker, Morgan, and Roberts Small Red scalloped
Federal Reserve Bank Note 1918 Teehee & Elliott John Burke Blue Nicknamed: "Battleship note" from
the reverse design.[30]

Small size[edit]

The first small-size $2 Legal Tender Note printed (Smithsonian)
Type Series Treasurerα Secretaryα Seal
Legal Tender Note 1928, 1928-A to G Tate, Woods, Julian,
Mellon, Mills, Morgenthau,
Vinson, Snyder
Legal Tender Note 1953, 1953-A to C Priest, Smith, Granahan Humphrey, Anderson, Dillon Red
Legal Tender Note 1963, 1963-A Kathryn E. Granahan Dillon & Fowler Red
Federal Reserve Note 1976 Francine I. Neff William E. Simon Green
Federal Reserve Note 1995 Mary Ellen Withrow Robert E. Rubin Green
Federal Reserve Note 2003 Rosario Marin John W. Snow Green
Federal Reserve Note 2003-A Anna Escobedo Cabral John W. Snow Green
Federal Reserve Note 2009 Rosa Gumataotao Rios Timothy F. Geithner Green
Federal Reserve Note 2013 Rosa Gumataotao Rios Jack Lew Green
These are sourced by The Official Red Book (Whitman).[31]


Over 4.3 million $2 bills are entered at the American currency-tracking Web site Where's George?[32] Because $2 bills are uncommon in daily use, their use can make a particular group of spenders visible. A documented case of using two-dollar bills to send a message to a community is the case of Geneva Steel and the communities in surrounding Utah County. In 1989, Geneva Steel paid its employee bonuses in $2 bills. When the bills began to appear in different places, people recognized the importance of the company to the local economy.[33]

Use of the two-dollar bill is also being suggested by some gun rights activists to show support for Second Amendment rights, particularly at stores that allow Open Carry or Concealed carry of weapons on their premises.[34][35] Two dollar notes have also seen increased usage in situations where tipping is encouraged, especially in strip clubs. This is due to the idea that tips will increase because of the ease of use of a single, higher-denomination bill as the lowest common note in use.[36]

The use of the two-dollar bill is popular among fans and alumni of Clemson University who often bring notes with them when traveling to university athletic events in other localities as a demonstration of their economic impact in an area. The idea was first popularized in 1977 when Georgia Tech had threatened to no longer play the Tigers in football and has since caught on as a token of fandom when traveling to other locations. Fans will often stamp an orange tiger paw (Clemson's logo) on the note as a sign of its origin.[37]

During the 1930s, the two dollar bill was often used at East Coast horse race tracks to make a bet. Because of the German and Jewish influence, the bill was locally known in parts of New Jersey as a "zwei-buck", and the upper right corner "2" was sometimes torn off to increase the luck.

Uncut currency sheets[edit]

Uncut 32-subject sheet of $2 Federal Reserve Notes.

Uncut currency sheets are available from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Some of the recent $2 uncut sheets from Series 1995 and Series 2003 have indeed been collectibles as they come from special non-circulation printings. Most of the Series 1995 $2 uncut sheets had a higher suffix letter in the serial number than regular circulation $2 bills. Uncut $2 sheets from Series 2003 were printed for the Boston (A), New York (B), Atlanta (F), Chicago (G), Minneapolis (I), and Dallas (K) Federal Reserve Districts despite the fact that notes from the Minneapolis district were the only ones released for circulation. Uncut sheets of Series 2003A have also been produced, although in this case circulating currency for all districts has also been made. All two dollar bills beginning with Series 1995 have been printed in the BEP facility in Fort Worth, Texas.[24][38][39]

Uncut sheets of $2 bills are available in various sizes. A 32-subject sheet, which is the original size sheet on which the notes are printed, 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 are sold for more than their respective face values.[40] Uncut sheets of large size notes (issued before 1928) also exist, but are extremely rare.[41]

Steve Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple Inc., has been using $2 banknotes separated from 4-bill uncut sheets (glued together into pads), to surprise merchants and waiters.[42][43]


  1. ^ "Legal Tender Alexander Hamilton: 1862 $2 Currency". The Kennedy Mint. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Six Kinds of United States Paper Currency". friesian.com. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  3. ^ "About Paper Money - Small-size Bicentennial $2 notes". Coinworld.com. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  4. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  5. ^ Stone, Suzanne J. (March–April 1976). "The $2 Bill Returns" (PDF). The Economic Review. Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. 62 (2). Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ "$2.00 still printed?". Ustreas.gov. Archived from the original on July 25, 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2010. 
  7. ^ "$2 accepting vending machines". 4mega-vending.com. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Use The $2". Retrieved October 30, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Series 2003A $2". USpapermoney.info. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  10. ^ "FAQs: Denominations of currency". United States Department of the Treasury. Archived from the original on August 25, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014. 
  11. ^ bbbconsumeralert (January 27, 2010). "Sometimes a $2 Bill is Just a $2 Bill". Tucson Citizen.com. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Spend Tom 2010". Visit California. January 1, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2014. 
  13. ^ Arthur L. Friedberg, Ira S. Friedberg, David L. (INT) Ganz (2005). A Guide Book of United States Paper Money. Whitman Publishing, LLC. pp. 88–90. ISBN 0-7948-1786-6. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  14. ^ Arthur L. Friedberg, Ira S. Friedberg, David L. (INT) Ganz (2005). A Guide Book of United States Paper Money. Whitman Publishing, LLC. p. 91. ISBN 0-7948-1786-6. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  15. ^ Arthur L. Friedberg, Ira S. Friedberg, David L. (INT) Ganz (2005). A Guide Book of United States Paper Money. Whitman Publishing, LLC. pp. 91–92. ISBN 0-7948-1786-6. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  16. ^ Arthur L. Friedberg, Ira S. Friedberg, David L. (INT) Ganz (2005). A Guide Book of United States Paper Money. Whitman Publishing, LLC. pp. 95–96. ISBN 0-7948-1786-6. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  17. ^ Arthur L. Friedberg, Ira S. Friedberg, David L. (INT) Ganz (2005). A Guide Book of United States Paper Money. Whitman Publishing, LLC. pp. 93–94. ISBN 0-7948-1786-6. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  18. ^ Arthur L. Friedberg, Ira S. Friedberg, David L. (INT) Ganz (2005). A Guide Book of United States Paper Money. Whitman Publishing, LLC. pp. 96–97. ISBN 0-7948-1786-6. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  19. ^ Arthur L. Friedberg, Ira S. Friedberg, David L. (INT) Ganz (2005). A Guide Book of United States Paper Money. Whitman Publishing, LLC. p. 97. ISBN 0-7948-1786-6. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  20. ^ Arthur L. Friedberg, Ira S. Friedberg, David L. (INT) Ganz (2005). A Guide Book of United States Paper Money. Whitman Publishing, LLC. p. 98. ISBN 0-7948-1786-6. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  21. ^ Arthur L. Friedberg, Ira S. Friedberg, David L. (INT) Ganz (2005). A Guide Book of United States Paper Money. Whitman Publishing, LLC. p. 99. ISBN 0-7948-1786-6. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  22. ^ Stone, Suzanne J. (March–April 1976). "The $2 Bill Returns". Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  23. ^ Bureau of Engraving and Printing. "Annual Production Figures". Archived from the original on March 4, 2007. Retrieved April 14, 2007. 
  24. ^ a b "Series 2003A $2". USpapermoney.info. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Series 2009 $2". USpapermoney.info. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 
  26. ^ "2012 BEP Production Info via FOIA". WheresGeorge.com. Retrieved April 29, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Series 2013 $2". USpapermoney.info. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  28. ^ "1869 $2 Legal Tender Rainbow Note". usrarecurrency.com. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  29. ^ Kathy Lawrence (May 19, 2011). ""Lazy Deuces" — $2 National Bank Notes". currency.ha.com. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  30. ^ Fred Reed (July 29, 2009). "Battleship Note Projects American Naval Strength". numismaster.com. Retrieved November 14, 2015. 
  31. ^ Arthur L. & Ira S. Friedberg (2014). A guide Book of United States Paper Money 4th Edition. Whitman. pp. 56–68. 
  32. ^ http://www.wheresgeorge.com/wrapper.php?page=denom
  33. ^ Tad Walch (May 17, 2003). "Geneva workers give their $2 worth". Deseret News. Retrieved May 30, 2013. 
  34. ^ "2A supporters start Buycott to battle the Starbucks Anti-Firearm Boycott". Military Times. Retrieved February 15, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Starbucks "$2 for 2A" Appreciation Day Going Viral". The Truth About Guns. Retrieved February 15, 2012. 
  36. ^ "$2 bill increasing in use and shedding its 'play-money' image". USA Today. November 7, 2006. Retrieved February 17, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Clemson University Traditions". Retrieved October 3, 2016. 
  38. ^ "Series 1995 $2". USpapermoney.info. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  39. ^ "Series 2003 $2". USpapermoney.info. Retrieved February 9, 2011. 
  40. ^ "BEP to Raise Uncut Currency Sheet Prices". coinnews.net. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Large Size. 1896. Silver Certificates. Bound Presentation Set of the First Educational Uncut Sheets. $1, $2, and $5. Fr-224, 247, and 268. PMG Photo Proof Certificates". stacksbowers.com. Retrieved July 21, 2012. 
  42. ^ "Woz and the Secret Service: "The infamous $2 bill incident"". Woz.org. Retrieved 2016-12-26. 
  43. ^ Woz's $2 bill sheets - The Engadget Show on YouTube (2011-02-01)

External links[edit]