The 1976 $2 bill is a fascinating and relatively rare piece of currency that has gained a great deal of interest among collectors and non-collectors alike. Despite being in circulation for nearly half a century, the 1976 $2 bill still retains much of its value and is highly sought after.
In this article, we will take a look at the design and positive identification of the 1976 $2 bill, as well as its value detailed in a handy chart, key auction records, a brief guide to grading paper money, and a useful guide to buying and selling paper money.
1976 $2 Bill: Background
The United States has had a long and varied history when it comes to paper currency, with the first $2 bill issued in 1862. However, the design of the $2 bill changed dramatically in the 1960s, when the government decided to update the look of US currency. The 1976 $2 bill was the first new $2 bill to be released since the redesign during the 1960s.
The 1976 $2 bill was not widely circulated, which is one of the reasons for its relative scarcity. In fact, many banks did not order the $2 bill, and it was not until the 1980s that the bill became more widely available.
One of the reasons for this $2 bill’s popularity is the fact it was once a subject of urban legend and conspiracy theories. There were rumors that the government had stopped printing $2 bills in order to phase them out and that anyone who had one was in possession of a rare and valuable collector’s item. This led many people to hoard the $2 bills and caused a temporary shortage of them in circulation. Some people even claimed that the $2 bill was unlucky or that it was the preferred currency of drug dealers and gamblers!
However, the rumors were untrue and even though the government continued to print $2 bills the urban legend lived on. It is widely accepted as a legitimate form of currency so, if you happen to come across a 1976 $2 bill, don’t be afraid to spend it! Or, if you have a rare 1976 $2 bill with a notable serial number you can try selling it and may be able to earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars!
1976 $2 Bill: Design And Identification
If you have come across a collectible 1976 $2 bill, or if you would like to get your hands on one to form a collection, it’s important to take note of the key features to recognize a genuine bill.
1. Front & Back
The 1976 $2 bill features a portrait of Thomas Jefferson on the front, with a depiction of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the back. The design of the bill is similar to other currency from the 1970s, with a green seal and serial number, and a green and black border.
2. Series Date
To identify a 1976 $2 bill, you will need to look at the series date, which is located on the upper right-hand side of the front of the bill. The series date will be 1976 or 1976A.
Another way to identify the 1976 $2 bill is to look at the signature on the bill. The signature will be that of the Treasurer of the United States and the Secretary of the Treasury.
1976 $2 Bill: Value Chart
The value of an individual 1976 $2 bill will depend on several factors including the condition, rarity, presence of printing error and serial number. The average value can increase significantly for bills in pristine condition or with unique serial numbers.
Please note that these values are based on historical data and general trends in the collectible currency market, as well as the prices of similar items that have been sold in the past. The value of collectible currency can fluctuate, and it is always recommended to consult a professional appraiser or reference current market data to get a more accurate idea of the value of any bill that interests you.
|Condition/Variety||Average Value Range (USD)|
|Circulated||$5 – $10|
|Crisp Uncirculated||$15 – $30|
|Star Note||$40 – $100|
|Error Note||$100 – $500|
|Rare Serial Number||$100 – $500|
But what do each of these terms mean? How do you know whether you have a $2 bill worth tens or hundreds of dollars?
- Circulated: This refers to paper money that has been used in transactions and shows signs of wear and handling. Circulated bills may have folds or creases and are almost always less valuable than uncirculated bills.
- Crisp Uncirculated: This refers to paper money that has not been used in transactions and is in the same condition as when it left the printing press. A bill that is deemed as crisp is considered to be in near-perfect condition.
- Star Note: A star note is a variety of paper money that is printed as a replacement for a bill that has been damaged during the printing process. Star notes are identified by a star symbol following the serial number and are collectible items due to their rarity.
- Error Note: An error note is a bill that was printed with a mistake such as a missing serial number or a misaligned design. Error notes can be valuable to collectors because of their rarity and uniqueness.
- Rare Serial Number: This is a unique sequence of numbers and letters that appears on the face of a paper money bill. Some serial numbers are considered rare due to their unique patterns or low production numbers and are valuable for collectors.
While the rarest error notes and serial numbers are worth up to $500 on average, the best examples can fetch thousands of dollars at auction. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most valuable 1976 $2 bills sold so far…
1. Serial Number 1 Bicentennial $2 Star
First up, the most expensive 1976 $2 bill ever sold. This bill possesses the sought after serial number “L00000001” and has the PCGS grade Very Choice New 64PPQ. It sold for $35,250 in 2016! The same note first came up for auction in 2009 where it fetched $29,900 – an example of the increasing value of this kind of collectible currency.
2. Serial Number L00000001A $2 FRN
Next up, this 1976 $2 bill is notable for being the first printed bill in the San Francisco district. It was given the PCGS grade Gem New 65PPQ. This bill, along with the original front label, sold for $21,150 in 2016!
3. 1976 Atlanta District Brick of 4000 Notes
Emphasizing the high value of the previous auction record, a whole stack of 4000 bills achieved an equivalent price at auction. There bills, all graded as Very Choice Crisp Uncirculated, sold for $21,150 in 2013!
4. Minneapolis Original Pack of 100, Original Star Notes
This pack of 100 original bills printed for a notable location when it comes to $2 bills – Minneapolis – were graded Very Choice Crisp Uncirculated. The stack contained all original star notes and sold for $15,257 in 2013!
5. Low Serial Number 2 San Francisco $2 Star
Another notably low serial number bill, this San Francisco 1976 $2 was the second ever printed for this location. The bill was PMG graded Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ. It sold for $13,200 in 2022!
Grading Paper Money: Brief Guide
The process of grading paper money is essential for determining the value of a bill and is a crucial aspect of buying and selling paper money. While it can take years of experience to master, you can get an idea of the grade of your bill by taking a close look at it and noting any imperfections.
The grading system for paper money is very similar to that used for coins, and it ranges from Poor (P) to Gem Uncirculated (Gem UNC):
- Poor (P): A bill in poor condition is significantly damaged, with tears, holes, or heavy wear. It is unlikely to have any significant value.
- Fair (FR): A bill in fair condition has moderate wear and may have some minor tears or repairs. It is considered to be below average in terms of condition and value.
- Fine (F): A bill in fine condition has some wear but is still in relatively good condition. The design and lettering should be clear, but there may be some fading or discoloration.
- Very Fine (VF): A bill in very fine condition is well-preserved, with only minor wear and no significant damage. The design and lettering should be clear and bold, and the bill should be relatively crisp.
- Extremely Fine (EF): A bill in extremely fine condition is almost as good as new, with only minor signs of wear. The design and lettering should be sharp and well-defined, and the bill should be crisp and clean.
- About Uncirculated (AU): A bill in about uncirculated condition is just slightly below uncirculated, with only minor signs of handling. The design and lettering should be well-defined, and the bill should be relatively crisp.
- Uncirculated (UNC): A bill in uncirculated condition is in the same condition as it was when it left the printing press. It should have no wear, no folds, and no damage.
- Gem Uncirculated (Gem UNC): A bill in gem uncirculated condition is a top-quality example of its grade, with excellent eye appeal and no signs of wear or damage.
Guide To Buying And Selling Paper Money
If you are looking to buy or sell paper money, there are several options available to you. One option is to visit a local coin and paper money dealer who can help you determine the value of your bill and connect you with potential interested buyers/sellers.
Another good option is to participate in an online auction where you can bid on or sell paper money to collectors and investors from around the world. You can also try asking around specialised numismatic forums for advice and coin swaps.
When either buying or selling, it is important to be knowledgeable about the different grades and the factors that influence value. You should also be cautious of scams and fraudulent sellers, who may try to sell you counterfeit or altered bills. Ensure you go for listings with plenty of details, close-up images and authenticated items. Alternatively, when selling make sure you include all the relevant details and important images of damage or special features. Transparency is key!
Some recommended online marketplaces for buying or selling your valuable paper money include:
- eBay – eBay is a well-established online marketplace that offers a wide variety of collectible paper money. You can filter by date, circulated/uncirculated, grade, certification, and more.
- Amazon – Amazon is another popular online marketplace that offers a wide selection of collectible paper money. The site offers a wide range of items and competitive prices, making it a good option for both buyers and sellers. Be aware of scams and reproduction items here – make sure you only buy from reputable sellers.
- Heritage Auctions – Heritage Auctions is a leading auction house for collectible currency and offers a variety of paper money items for sale, including rare and unique pieces. If you sign up, you can see previous auction results and more.