America wasn’t always a sovereign nation. It was born on July 4, 1776, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Life was always challenging in the States. The world has changed profoundly in the next two centuries, with many dreadful happenings. Famines, world wars, ideological struggles, and other tragedies were all part of the international fabric.
The United States celebrates its independence with much fanfare every year. The Bicentennial of 1976 coincided with the 200th anniversary of our nation’s independence, and to commemorate it, the U.S. Mint issued a two-dollar bill in 1976 featuring a unique design for the occasion.
On the face of the bill, you’ll see the typical portrait of Thomas Jefferson that’s been in use since 1928. The new part of the design comes on the back of the bill, which features a rendition of John Trumbull’s painting “The Declaration of Independence,” with the signatories standing in triumph.
There is an exciting trivia to consider here that helps with this bill’s scarcity. America was coming out of the recession in 1976, and thus most people could not muster up enough money to justify ownership of these bills. It’s like trying to run around with thousand-dollar bills today; it doesn’t make sense.
By reading this article, you’ll learn the history of this outstanding bill and how to identify it. You’ll also learn how to evaluate one. Last, we will examine the market value of 1976 two-dollar bills and how to avoid counterfeits.
The History of the 1976 $2 Bill
The history of the bicentennial two-dollar bill began in the early 1970s. Congress authorized the minting of the two-dollar bill with a unique design to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
The new bill was first issued in February 1976 and put into circulation on July 5, 1976. It was printed with a series date of 1976, but there were no additional prints until 1995. The Treasury Department released many $2 bills in late 1976 and 1977 but most never circulated. As a result, most 1976 two-dollar bills are in excellent condition and were likely never used.
The main issue of the bill was that the Fed released it in a time of economic hardship. People didn’t have enough money to afford the bills, so many never made it into circulation. However, despite its low circulation, it still has a certain charm that makes it desirable.
Evaluating a 1976 $2 Bill
Experienced collectors and appraisers look at several factors when determining the condition and value of a 1976 two-dollar bill.
- Grade: A bill’s condition can range from poor to uncirculated. A higher grade indicates a better state, making the bill more valuable.
- Serial number: The serial number on a 1976 two-dollar bill is essential in determining its value. Unique serial numbers, such as low or repeating numbers, are especially desirable to collectors and can influence the value.
- Signatures: Bills with the signatures of Arthur Burns and Robert B. Anderson can increase in value because these were the last two to sign the bill. The reason is that subsequent bill series after 1976 had different Treasury secretaries.
- Print location: Districts’ Federal reserves banks print their own money — there are 12 districts in the United States. Thus, certain states print fewer bills than others, leading to lower circulation and higher rarity. And bills with higher rarity are more valuable on the market.
- Star note status: A star note is a serial number notation printed as a replacement for a misprinted bill. It adds to the bill’s rarity and, thus, to its value.
- Post office stamp: A post office stamp is a cancellation mark that some post offices apply to commemorate the first day of issue. Bills with a seal are rarer than bills without.
There are other factors like age, but since we’re focusing on bills from 1976, they won’t be relevant here.
The Market Value of 1976 $2 Bills: how Much does it Worth?
Markets don’t behave rationally because the value of a 1976 two-dollar bill will not be the same across all outlets. A dealer may charge $50 for a note in extra fine condition, while another may offer the same bill for half that price. The disparity is due to differing market supply and demand dynamics, so it pays to shop around.
If you’re looking to buy a 1976 $2 bill, you’ve come to the right place. We prepared a list of different bills, separated by price category. That way, you can see what you’re getting based on your budget.
Low Price 1976 $2 Bills — Less than $20
These bills are the cheapest ones you’ll find when shopping around. You’ll notice that most of them are circulated, which comes with discoloration, folds, and other imperfections. Still, they’re an excellent way to start your bill collection.
The cheapest bill we could find is this 2 Dollars 1976 Banknote of United States Jefferson Monticello J15190870a that sells for $4.95. As you can see from the pictures, it is pretty beaten up, with folds and discoloration.
Another solid buy could be this 1976 United States 2 Dollar Banknote Circulated that sells for $5.20. Same deal as the above banknote: the circulation effects are quite visible on this one.
For an uncirculated yet affordable bill, we recommend this 1976 $2 two dollar bill ( Dallas “K”) uncirculated that goes for $9.90. The Dallas “K” means that the bill comes from the city of Dallas, a significant collector’s detail.
For the last bill in this section, here’s a 1976 $2 two dollar bill ( Kansas “J”) uncirculated that sells for $16.50. It’s a nice-looking, uncirculated bill from Kansas’ Federal Reserve Bank.
Medium Price 1976 $2 Bills — From $20 to $500
Plenty of 1976 two-dollar bills go for between $20 and $500. These will be in better condition than the ones mentioned above, and they may have some additional features that add to their rarity.
For example, consider this 1976 $2 Two Dollar Bill Star Note Bank of New York Replacement Serial B00511281 that sells for $95. Here the price is justified by the star note, which means it was a replacement bill for a misprint, which makes the piece rarer.
For a higher-end bill that fits this price range, here’s a 1976 $2 Dollar Federal Reserve Note Fr#1935-E First Day Stamp Cancel PMG-64 that sells for $399. Not only it has a high grade of 64, but it also has a first-day stamp — specifically, an MA Liberty Bell stamp.
For our next bill, here’s a Vintage Rare $2 Kansas City Star Courtesy Autograph Neff 1976 Two Dollar Bill selling for $257.20. Here the main factor justifying the high price is Neff’s autograph, the then Treasurer of the United States, combined with the fact it’s a star note printed in Kansas City. Kansas City had the lowest star notes printing of 12 districts, adding to the bill’s rarity.
High Price 1976 $2 Bills — From $500 to $2,500
These bills are the most expensive ones you will find on the marketplace. They are in pristine condition and combine traits that boost their value. These are the bills to go after if you’re a collector looking to add a dazzling piece to your collection that shines bright in your stand and draws your guests’ attention.
We begin with this Collectible Series 1976 $2 Dollar Bill with rare star note that goes for $850. The perfect condition, the Neff autograph, and the star note make this bill one of the highest priced in the market.
For another higher-end piece, here’s a 1976 (A) $2 Two Dollar Bill Federal Reserve Note D 26990033 A #33 that goes for $1,945. This is an especially rare bill, with serial number 33. Such low serial numbers are in high demand among collectors due to how scarce they are.
Rounding up our list is this 1976 $2 Pair Two Dollar Bills Number #05201314 & 05201313, which sell for $2,013.14. While it’s not a single bill, combining two consecutive serial numbers makes it an excellent collectible for high-end buyers.
Highest Price 1976 $2 Bills — $2,500 and Up
Here is where the bidding wars happen. If you’re a veteran collector with a decent amount of cash to spend, these are the bills you should be looking for. These are the rarest notes — they usually have a low serial number or a unique combination of features. They typically come with an official grade from the Professional Coin Grading Service, which adds to their value.
Editor’s note: We included sales for stacks of bills in this section, as they often come in bundles in this price range.
We begin with this Fr. 1935-E* $2 1976 Federal Reserve Notes. Original Pack of 100. Gem Crisp Uncirculated that sold for $3,450. There’s not much to say about them. They still have their original packaging, with the BEP wrap (BEP stands for Bureau of Engraving and Printing) intact, and come in Gem Crisp Uncirculated condition.
Next, check out this Low Serial Number 00000002 Fr. 1935-L $2 1976 Federal Reserve Note. PCGS Choice New 63PPQ that sold for $9,400. The low serial number is the primary driver of this bill’s price; plus, it has a PCGS Choice New 63PPQ grade which adds to its value.
If you’re after an even lower serial number, here’s Serial Number 1 Fr. 1935-L $2 1976 Federal Reserve Note. PCGS Gem New 65PPQ that sold for $21,150. It’s a lot of 40 packs with 100 notes each, including the “0001” note, making it the first $2 coming from the San Francisco District.
Completing our list is this Fr. 1935-L* $2 1976 Federal Reserve Note. PCGS Very Choice New 64PPQ that sold for a mouth-watering $35,250. Heritage Auction reports that this is “The only serial number 1 Bicentennial deuce star known to exist in private hands.” That makes it unique and justifies its sky-high price.
FAQs about 1976 $2 Bills
How can I tell if my 1976 $2 bill is a rare variety star note?
A star note is a replacement note with a star before the serial number. There are both common and rare varieties of star notes for 1976 $2 bills. The value depends on the condition and the district of the issue.
What are common 1976 $2 bill printing errors, and how can I spot them?
There are many printing errors on currency, such as misalignment, ink smears, gutter folds, miscut bills, light or missing designs, and mismatched series. The most valuable printing error on 1976 $2 bills is mismatching serial numbers on the front of the note.
How can I tell if a 1976 $2 bill is authentic?
There are several security features to consider when establishing whether a bill is authentic. Check out the bill’s watermark, color-shifting ink, and microprinting. Plus, check the note numbers to see where it was printed.
Bicentennial $2 bills are a way to commemorate and celebrate America’s independence from the British empire. The U.S. government released them to observe the brave warriors that fought to free the country from the colonial empire that kept them under their rule.
If you’re a beginner collector, rejoice. There are 1976 $2 bills for all budgets. If you are okay with buying a circulated bill with folds and a low grade, you have plenty of options on the market. But you can also find affordable uncirculated bills. It all depends on your budget and what you want. Some people collect for their pleasure. Other people collect old bills to signal their taste and to impress guests.
No matter what you’re looking for, these legendary bills will be a fine addition to your collection. Make sure to learn how at least to give a ballpark estimate of a bill’s value and to be able to spot fakes. Fake bills are a big business for criminal organizations, and the collector’s market is ripe for exploitation by these unlawful people.