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What Happened to US Two-Dollar Bills?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 17, 2024
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In one sense, nothing at all has happened to US two-dollar bills. They are still in circulation and are still considered legal tender. The fact remains, however, that relatively few people would be able to produce bills of this denomination from their wallets on demand these days. Even at the height of their popularity, during the 1950s and 1960s, two-dollar bills were rarely given out as change or stored in designated cash register slots. If it hadn't been for a renewed interest during the country's bicentennial in 1976, the denomination may have been completely phased out.

Many people believe that two-dollar bills are so rare or so collectible that hoarding them makes more financial sense than spending them. The truth is that most of those in circulation today are worth exactly $2 US Dollars (USD). They are not especially rare, at least not from a coin collector's perspective. Federal reserve banks still order them to replace ones pulled from circulation due to condition or age. The reason many of these bills are not seen on the street is that recipients tend to save them as curiosities or collectibles rather than put them into general circulation.

There are organizations and individuals who actively promote the use of two-dollar bills as everyday currency. Many bills are marked "this is not a rare bill" to encourage others to spend them like any other denomination. The gift shop at Monticello, the homestead of Thomas Jefferson, is said to routinely give them out as change to honor the president featured on the face of the currency. There are rumors of certain store owners not accepting this denomination from customers, believing that the bills are either counterfeit or no longer considered legal tender.

Two-dollar bills may suffer from the same perception problems as the Susan B. Anthony silver dollar coin or the recent Sacajawea golden dollar coin. Few vending machines are set to accept them, although they are generally accepted at self-service grocery store checkout stands. These bills seem to be most popular as tips, although there are rumors that certain military members and out-of-state visitors will deliberately spend them to prove their impact on the local economy.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to America Explained, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By anon974987 — On Oct 22, 2014

The 2 dollar bill is legal tender. You may use them anywhere where the sales clerk is smart enough to accept them. The Treasury is printing Series 2013 $2 bills. That means that the $2 bill is current. There are actually over 1 billion or more Federal Reserve Note $2 bills in circulation at this time since 1976.

By anon967296 — On Aug 26, 2014

My brother is saying the $2 bills can't be used, so I started to research on the internet to see if that's true. I mean, just because it's rare doesn't mean that it can't be allowed to use it. It has already been approved by the United States to make $2 bills. They shouldn't have made it in the first place if we're not even allowed to use it in some places.

By anon293011 — On Sep 23, 2012

We will not have to worry about use of two dollar bills or any U.S. currency for that matter, if we don't stop these mad men in Washington from printing, borrowing and giving our future tax money away.

By anon252767 — On Mar 06, 2012

There are fewer than 66 million post-1929 United States Note 2 dollar bills left in circulation.

By anon214044 — On Sep 13, 2011

@anon142942: I'm pretty sure that they printed more of the '76 series than any other after that. Chances are that they probably won't be worth much more than that unless you hold on to them for a long, long time and something else happens to the other 590 million other two dollar bills that were printed in that run.

By anon211343 — On Sep 02, 2011

I have decided that I am going to actively use $1 coins and $2 bills. When I get cash at the bank, I am going to request the two and use them to try and promote their use. I know it isn't likely to make a major impact, but I am still going to do it.

By anon204077 — On Aug 08, 2011

I sent in a 1963 $2 bill to the BEP that was moth eaten and worthless to any collector. I sent it in in August, 2010. The BEP destroyed it September, 2010. I received a check for $2 in March, 2011. It took the BEP eight months to settle a $2 case.

By anon198399 — On Jul 19, 2011

@anon57783. The same thing just happened to me at a GNC in Florida. The clerk acted like the $2 I gave her was covered in plague, and refused to take it. The shop lost a $91 sale because they refused to take a $2.

By anon186989 — On Jun 16, 2011

i guess i can just bring all my two dollar bills to the bank instead of saving them, then.

By anon166593 — On Apr 09, 2011

If someone doesn't accept $2 as currency they are either uneducated or a foreigner and have no idea.

By anon145522 — On Jan 23, 2011

I know something now I didn't know before about the two dollar bill.

By anon142942 — On Jan 14, 2011

Can anyone help me understand if there is any future value in the 76 $2 bill? What is its value today? Thank you very much.

By anon140560 — On Jan 07, 2011

The younger generation should try horse racing. $2 bills are used to bet with.

By anon138488 — On Jan 01, 2011

It doesn't make sense that we don't use $2 bills frequently. Almost nothing costs less than a dollar; it's always a dollar something, which would make $2 bills a better choice. The government should switch to coin dollars, and raise production of the $2 bill while phasing out the dollar bill. At the end of the year, this will save them money.

By anon57783 — On Dec 27, 2009

I was just at a GameStop in Delaware, store 4506. They would not accept my sons 2 dollar bills ($40) worth. They lost a $250 sale as the sales clerk refused to take our two dollar bills!

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to America Explained, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a...
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