When did they stop printing 2-dollar bills? The 2-dollar banknote is one of the lesser-seen denominations of United States currency still in circulation today. With its bright red numeral 2 against a muted parchment background, the $2 bill stands out from the more common $1, $5, $10, and $20 denominations.
So if the 2-dollar bill still exists, why don’t we see it in circulation as often as other denominations? When did the U.S. Treasury stop printing these infrequent banknotes?
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The U.S. Department of the Treasury has continued printing 2-dollar bills since the denomination was first introduced in 1862. However, production and circulation have always been limited compared to other denominations.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the history of the 2-dollar bill and examine the reasons why it has faded from everyday use. We’ll look at when 2-dollar bills were printed through the decades and discuss why certain series of 2-dollar bills are more rare and collectible today.
Read on to learn everything you ever wanted to know about the elusive $2 note.
A Brief History of the $2 Bill
The $2 bill was first issued in 1862
The 2-dollar bill has a long history in the United States. It was first issued in 1862 during the Civil War as a way to solve the problem of a shortage of coins. The government decided to introduce a new denomination to make up for the lack of smaller coins, and thus the 2-dollar bill was born.
Limited use from the start
However, the 2-dollar bill never gained widespread popularity and was not widely circulated. Many people were unfamiliar with the denomination, and some even believed it to be a counterfeit. As a result, the 2-dollar bill remained a rarity in circulation.
Sporadic releases in the early 20th century
Throughout the early 20th century, the 2-dollar bill was released in sporadic intervals. It was often printed in smaller quantities compared to other denominations, further contributing to its scarcity. Despite this, the 2-dollar bill gained a small following of collectors who appreciated its uniqueness.
A comeback in 1976 for the bicentennial
In 1976, the 2-dollar bill made a comeback to commemorate the bicentennial of the United States. The government printed a large quantity of 2-dollar bills that year, featuring a special design to celebrate the nation’s 200th anniversary.
This reintroduction sparked renewed interest in the 2-dollar bill and led to increased circulation.
Recent printings and current status
Since the bicentennial, the 2-dollar bill has continued to be printed periodically, although in smaller quantities compared to other denominations. While it is not as commonly seen in everyday transactions, the 2-dollar bill still holds a special place in the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts.
It serves as a unique and distinctive piece of American currency.
Key Dates and Series for $2 Bills
1862: First $2 bills with Spinner-Ellsworth signatures
The history of 2-dollar bills dates back to 1862 when the first 2-dollar bills were printed with the signatures of Treasury officials Francis E. Spinner and Robert J. Walker. These bills featured intricate designs and were part of the series known as the Spinner-Ellsworth series.
1869: Rainbow $2 bills
In 1869, the United States introduced the Rainbow series of 2-dollar bills. These bills were known for their vibrant and colorful designs, which included a rainbow tint on the back of the bill. The Rainbow 2-dollar bills are highly sought after by collectors today.
1928: Small-sized $2 bills introduced
In 1928, the United States began printing small-sized 2-dollar bills, which are the same size as the modern currency we use today. These bills featured the portrait of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, on the front.
1953: Red seal $2 bills with Jefferson portrait
In 1953, the design of the 2-dollar bill was updated to include a red seal instead of the previous blue seal. The portrait of Thomas Jefferson remained on the front of the bill. These red seal $2 bills are still in circulation today and are considered to be legal tender.
1976: Bicentennial $2 bills
In 1976, the United States celebrated its bicentennial, marking 200 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. As part of the celebrations, special bicentennial 2-dollar bills were issued. These bills featured a unique design with a depiction of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the back.
1995-Present: New counterfeit-prevention $2 bills
Starting in 1995, the United States began printing 2-dollar bills with enhanced security features to combat counterfeiting. These bills include features such as watermarks, security threads, and color-shifting ink.
The current series of 2-dollar bills with these updated security features is still in circulation today.
For more information on the history and design of 2-dollar bills, you can visit the U.S. Currency Education Program website.
Why Are $2 Bills Not Common in Circulation?
The 2-dollar bill, although still considered legal tender, is not commonly seen in circulation. There are several reasons for this:
Lack of public demand
One of the main reasons why 2-dollar bills are not commonly circulated is the lack of public demand. Most people are simply not accustomed to using $2 bills in their daily transactions. As a result, banks and businesses do not frequently stock them, further perpetuating their rarity.
Perception as unlucky or counterfeit
Another reason for the scarcity of 2-dollar bills in circulation is the perception that they are unlucky or counterfeit. This belief may stem from superstitions or misconceptions. However, it is important to note that 2-dollar bills are legitimate and have the same value as any other denomination.
Limited usage in commerce and banking
Since 2-dollar bills are not widely used in commerce and banking, they are not frequently circulated. Many businesses prefer to use other denominations, such as $1 bills or coins, for convenience. As a result, $2 bills often end up being collected rather than being used in everyday transactions.
Popularity among collectors rather than circulation
Interestingly, 2-dollar bills have gained popularity among collectors, further contributing to their scarcity in circulation. Some people enjoy collecting these bills due to their unique design and rarity. This collector’s market has created a demand for 2-dollar bills, but primarily for their value as collectibles rather than for everyday use.
Collectability and Rarity of Certain $2 Bills
While 2-dollar bills may not be as commonly seen in circulation as other denominations, they hold a special place in the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts. Certain factors contribute to the collectability and rarity of these bills, making them sought after by those who appreciate the history and unique features of paper currency.
Low printing numbers
One of the main reasons why 2-dollar bills are considered collectible is due to their relatively low printing numbers compared to other denominations. The production of $2 bills decreased significantly in the late 1960s and early 1970s, leading to a scarcity of these bills in circulation.
This scarcity has made them more desirable among collectors, driving up their value in the numismatic market.
Another factor that adds to the collectability of $2 bills is the presence of star notes. Star notes are replacement notes that are printed to replace damaged or misprinted bills. These notes are identified by a star symbol at the beginning or end of the serial number.
Star notes are relatively rare and are highly sought after by collectors.
Older large-sized notes
Before 1929, 2-dollar bills were issued in a larger size than the current small-sized notes. These larger-sized notes, also known as “horse blankets,” are highly collectible due to their historical significance and unique design.
They feature intricate artwork and can be a fascinating addition to any collection of currency.
Miscut and misprinted notes
Miscut and misprinted 2-dollar bills are also prized by collectors. These bills have errors in their printing, such as misaligned designs, inverted images, or missing serial numbers. These printing errors occur during the production process and can result in unique and visually striking bills that are highly sought after by collectors.
Fancy serial numbers
One of the more fun and unique aspects of collecting 2-dollar bills is the pursuit of fancy serial numbers. These are special combinations of numbers that can be found in the serial number of the bill. Examples of fancy serial numbers include repeating digits (e.g., 77777777), ladder numbers (e.g., 12345678), and low or high numbers (e.g., 00000001 or 99999999).
Collectors enjoy finding and showcasing bills with these special serial number patterns.
Collecting 2-dollar bills can be a fascinating hobby, allowing individuals to appreciate the artistry, history, and rarity of these unique pieces of currency. Whether it’s the low printing numbers, the presence of star notes, the allure of the older large-sized notes, the excitement of finding miscut or misprinted bills, or the hunt for fancy serial numbers, numerous factors contribute to the collectability and rarity of 2-dollar bills.
When Did They Stop Printing 2-Dollar Bills – Conclusion
While 2-dollar bills have been in continuous production since their introduction in 1862, they have always occupied a niche role in American currency. After popularity in the late 19th century, the 2-dollar bill faded from everyday use.
Sporadic releases in the 20th century coincided with specific commemorative themes like national centennials and bicentennials. However, the 2-dollar bill failed to catch on again as a high-volume denomination. Today, 2-dollar bills are far less common in circulation than their $1, $5, $10, and $20 counterparts.
Still, these uncommon notes remain popular among collectors and serve as a living relic of America’s financial history.