What happened to the $2 bills?

What happened to the $2 bills?
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“If you have a $2 bill, it’s perfect,” said Heather McCabe, author and $2 evangelist who runs the paper. blog Two Buckaroos describe their spending in pairs and other people’s reactions. “Paying for a small amount is a very useful thing.”

Yet the $2 bill is the unloved child of paper money.

It is considered as one curiosity It was despised by some and others in the United States. this Myths around the $2 bill – nicknamed “Tom” by fans for having a portrait of Thomas Jefferson on the obverse – is eternal. Many Americans feel that the $2 bills are rare, out of print, or out of circulation.


$2 bills are lighter, cleaner and more efficient to carry around in our wallets.
Department of the Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) Print Billed up to $204 million this year, based on an annual order from the Federal Reserve System. According to the latest data from the Federal Reserve, there were 1.4 billion $2 bills in circulation in 2020.
But $2 bills make up only 0.001% of that. value $2 trillion worth of money in circulation

The BEP does not have to request a new $2 invoice each year like other invoices. This is because the $2 bills are used very infrequently and stay in circulation longer. The Fed orders them every few years and reduces inventory.

“Many Americans have very dubious assumptions about the $2 bill. Nothing happened on the $2 bill. It’s still being made. It’s being circulated,” McCabe said. “Americans misunderstand their own currency to the extent that they don’t use it.”

bad luck

United States first published $2 bills starting in 1862, just as the federal government began printing paper money. The portrait of Alexander Hamilton remained in the duo until a new series was published with Jefferson in 1869.

However, the duo was not popular and never gained a foothold in the public.

An important reason: The $2 bill was considered bad luck. Superstitious people would rip off the corners of the bill to “reverse the curse” and render the bills unusable.

The New York Times said in 1925, “Anyone playing a game of chance with a two-dollar bill in his pocket is considered bad luck.” article. “They were avoided because they were bad stars.”

The duo were also known for keeping controversial companies. It became associated with gambling and prostitution, where it was the standard bet on racetracks.

And throughout the nineteenth century, friendly candidates often used $2 bills to bribe voters. It was thought that someone holding a $2 bill was selling the votes to a rogue politician.

In the 1900s, the Treasury Department failed several times to popularize the use of the $2 bill. In 1966 it gave up printing invoices due to “lack of public demand”.

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But ten years later, as the United States approached its bicentennial, the Treasury designed a new series of $2 bills with a portrait on the back of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The goal was to reduce the number of $1 bills in circulation and save the Treasury on production costs.

But the reboot in 1976 failed. People saw the new version as a collector’s item and saved it instead of going out and spending it.

The Postal Service only offered to stamp them on April 13, the first day they were printed in honor of Jefferson’s birthday, and inadvertently contributed to the idea that they were commemorative bills—a misconception that continues to this day.

The New York Times reported, “The press and the public now tend to associate the $2 bill with the Susan B. Anthony dollar under the general heading of ‘fails’. aforementioned in 1981.

Paolo Pasquariello, a professor of finance at the University of Michigan, said there’s no logical reason why the $2 bills aren’t as popular as other bills. But people prefer multiples of 1 and 5, he said.

Another reason $2 bills never go up: Cash registers, invented in the late 1800s, were never designed as a place to hold them, so cashiers didn’t know where to put them.

“There has been no change in cash registers for $2 bills,” Heather McCabe said. “The infrastructure for paying for things hasn’t changed. There has been no adjustment to how people work with this invoice.”

He argued that if cash registers had a familiar slot for $2 bills, the bill would have been more popular.

$2 subculture

But there are people who swear by $2 bills. In fact, communities and subcultures have developed around them.

US Air Force pilots who fly U-2 spy planes always have $2 bills in their pockets. flight suits.
Since the 1970s, fans of Clemson University’s Tigers football team have paid and tipped $2 bills – “Tiger Twos” – in restaurants, bars, shops and hotels of other cities. Tradition started as a way Georgia Tech will do In Atlanta, he said it would be in the city’s best interest to schedule games against Clemson.
“There’s a degree of popularity for them. There’s a sense of excitement,” said Jesse Kraft, the museum’s curator. American Numismatic Association. “But when it comes to getting them back into circulation, that’s the key that’s been missing.”

Kraft is an advocate for more widespread adoption of $2 bills.

Clemson fans "Tiger Two's"  with orange claws from a stamp pad and spend them on the road to give businesses an idea of ​​their economic impact.

He notes that the Treasury’s $2 bill is about half as expensive to print on paper than the higher-end notes that come with more expensive security features. It is also more efficient to print $2 bills than $1 bills because the Treasury can print twice as much for the same amount of money and requires less storage.

John Bennardo, winner of 2015 film The nearly $2 bill, called “The Two-Dollar Bill Documentary,” has a mission to “educate and enlighten people and start using $2 bills in their lives.”

In short, he concludes that $2 bills are undervalued in the United States and are a way for foreigners to meet and interact.

“If you use the $2 bill, you will be remembered,” said Bennardo. “It has the ability to connect people in ways other bills don’t. It starts a dialogue between you and the cashier.”

“A practical bill with inflation. But it’s also a social currency.”

CNN’s Harry Enten contributed to this article.

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