$2 Bills Are Pretty Common, but a Select Few Are Worth Thousands
Many $2 bills issued between 1862 and 1918 are worth as little as $75 to as much as $4,500. Here's a look at which $2 bills carry value.
Considering how rare they seem, are $2 bills worth anything? After all, you see a “Tom” far less often than you see a Washington or a Jackson, so that rarity has to translate into high demand, right? Similar to doubled-die coins and state quarters, certain $2 bills carry significant value.
Although there were still 1.2 billion $2 bills in circulation as of 2017 and the U.S. Department of the Treasury was still printing $2 bills as recently as 2019, there are select $2 bills you'd be happy to get your hands on (or find in your collection). Let's take a look at the history of the $2 bill and which series carry the highest value.
What is the $2 bill?
The $2 bill is a denomination of U.S. currency that was first issued by the federal government in 1862, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
In that first design, a portrait of Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, graced the front of the bill. Starting with the Series 1869 United States Notes, however, the portrait of Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, was used for $2 bills. In 1928, the backside of the $2 bill was redesigned to feature artwork depicting Monticello, Jefferson’s Virginia residence.
In 1976, upon the United States’ bicentennial, the $2 bill was redesigned again. Starting with Series 1976, the backside of the bill featured a vignette of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, based on a painting by John Trumbull. The original Trumbull painting featured 47 men, but space constraints meant that only 42 appear in the engraving shown on the bill.
Are $2 bills still made?
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s annual production reports — which go up to fiscal 2020 — show that $2 bills were still being printed in fiscal 2019, when 160 million entered the national supply, compared to 339 million $10 bills, 736 million $2 bills, and 2.1 billion $1 bills. No $2 bills were printed in fiscal 2020.
The bureau says that the latest printings of the $2 bill have the Series 2017A designation, and there are no plans to redesign the $2 bill.
According to the U.S. Currency Education Program, the design of the $2 bill used from 1976 onward features raised printing, a Federal Reserve Bank seal, a U.S. Department of the Treasury seal, and two serial numbers. The design is printed on paper made from one-fourth linen and three-fourths cotton, which contains red and blue security fibers.
Are $2 bills worth anything?
Although numismatist James Bucki once proposed that $2 bills could only reach as high as $100 in value, a recently published price guide created by U.S. Currency Auctions suggests otherwise.
According to the list, $2 bills issued between 1862 and 1918 are worth as little as $75 to as much as $4,500.
For instance, an uncirculated $2 bill from 1890 bearing a red or brown seal color might sell for as much $4,500. Circulated bills carrying the same date (and seal colors) are worth a little less, between $550 and $2,500.
Another $2 bill that carries a high value are those with an 1869 series year (uncirculated) bearing a red seal. These particular bills are valued at $3,800, or between $500 and $1,200 for circulated notes.
Here's a look at a few other valuable $2 bills:
- 1862 uncirculated $2 bill with red seal – $2,800, or between $500 and $1,000 (circulated)
- 1875B uncirculated $2 bill with red seal – $2,300, or between $375 and $1,100 (circulated)
- 1928B uncirculated $2 bill with red seal – $1,000, or between $75 and $175 (circulated)
If you have any $2 bills in your possession, you may want to check your stash to see if any match the details listed above or on U.S. Currency Auctions' price guide. Today could be your lucky day!