Not all that long ago, my dad gave me a funny little gift: a $2 bill. “Wait … huh?” I said. (It had been a minute since I’d seen one.) My next thought was, “Can I even use this?!” I thanked him for the money but the memory is worth more than anything. Best believe that bill is safely tucked in a special jar in my room. However, you might have this same bill with the hope to spend it. So you could be asking, “Are 2 dollar bills worth anything?”
We’re going to dive into that but, spoiler alert: A $2 bill is legal tender, and therefore, you should be able to use it at any establishment that accepts cash. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s learn more about that paper.
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Contrary to popular belief, they still make the $2 bill.
A lot of people think that $2 bills were discontinued, but that’s not really the full story. Let’s back up and go through a brief history of this note.
The $2 bill was born in 1862, and it got off to a rocky start. For starters, at that time, $2 was a lot of money, which made it impractical to use for purchases. People were still paying for things with coins!
Then there was the fact that $2 bills were considered bad luck since “deuce” was another name for the devil. People would actually rip the twos off the bill to avoid any bad luck, making them unusable. Seriously. Don’t rip up your money, people.
Plus, cash registers didn’t have a designated spot for them, and stores didn’t know what to do with them.
This spiraled even further out of control. For instance, these days many vending machines and even businesses won’t accept or dispense $2 bills.
Over the years all of this created the perfect storm where people started thinking that the bill is super rare, even though it’s not. So they hoard and save them because … they might be really valuable one day!
But I can go right ahead and take my dad’s bill out of the jar. The $2 bill is alive, well, and yes, it’s still being printed. Albeit printed in smaller amounts than other bills, since there’s less demand. Additionally, they’re not printed every year because it’s not really necessary.
How common is the bill, exactly? In 2017 you could find 1.2 billion notes in circulation, worth $2.4 billion. Cha-ching!
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A $2 bill is worth $2, though maybe more depending on when it was printed.
So are $2 bills worth anything?
Well, it depends on who you ask. Most of the time, they’ll be worth $2. However, there are some exceptions that might mean you’ve run into a good chunk of change.
Generally, there are a few factors that help determine the bill’s worth:
- When it was printed (its “series”).
- If it has a colored seal.
- Whether or not it’s been circulated (meaning passed around).
For example, a $2 bill printed in 1963 with a red seal in excellent condition might be worth closer to $9. An even older bill from 1928 with a red seal in good condition is most likely worth anywhere from $10 to $20. However if it’s a 1928 B series with a red seal and has never been circulated, it could be worth as much as $125.
Generally speaking, the older the bill, the more it’s potentially worth, especially if it’s uncirculated. A large-sized bill issued anytime between 1862 through 1918, for instance, might be worth more than $1,000. And that’s if they’ve been circulated. Bills that haven’t been circulated might be valued at $500, although it’s possible for their worth to surpass $10,000.
If you want a professional opinion, you can take your bill to an appraiser. This is someone who determines the market value of an asset. You can find one locally or connect with an appraiser online. Or you might have luck finding an appraiser at an antique show.
Thomas Jefferson is the face on the $2 bill.
That’s right, Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, graces this controversial note. However, a little-known factoid is that when the first bill was issued in March of 1862, it depicted a portrait of Alexander Hamilton. But that was short-lived because in 1869 when the bill was redesigned, Hamilton was out and Jefferson took over. That’s why many people call the bill a “Tom.”