10 Random Trivia Facts about $2 Bills

March 26, 2015

Random trivia facts about the least-popular denomination of U.S. currency: the $2 bill. Story originally published in Uncle John’s Perpetually Pleasing Bathroom Reader.

Random Trivia Facts about the $2 Bill

  • First authorized in 1862, $2 bills were printed until 1966, at which point they were discontinued…but only for 10 years. They were reintroduced in 1976 as part of the Bicentennial celebration.
  • Many collectors had their Bicentennial bills postmarked on the day of issue (April 13, 1976), hoping to turn them into valuable collectibles. There are now so many of the postmarked bills that they may never be worth more than $2.
  • The 1976 reintroduction was an attempt at cost-cutting. The government estimated that it could save $26 million if the $2 bill replaced about half of the $1 bills in circulation. (It didn’t.)
  • Because of a persistent myth that $2 bills are no longer in production, some people hoard them. According to the U.S. Treasury, there are about 500 million $2 bills in circulation.
  • In 1925, the U.S. government tried to promote the use of $2 bills by putting one in all federal-employee pay envelopes.
  • Who’s on the $2 bill? It’s been Thomas Jefferson since 1869. But when the bill was introduced in 1862, it featured Alexander Hamilton’s portrait.
  • When you pay for something with a $2 bill, where does the cashier put it? Under the cash drawer. Reason: There’s no standard slot for $2 bills.
  • Merchants sometimes refuse to accept $2 bills, and that’s perfectly legal. They could turn down $20s, too. In fact, if they prefer credit card or electronic payment, they aren’t legally required to accept cash at all, regardless of denomination.
  • Less than one percent of U.S. currency produced is $2 bills.
  • In 2005 a man in Baltimore, Maryland, purchased a car radio from Best Buy and tried to pay the $114 installation fee with 57 $2 bills. The store manager was suspicious of the bills and called the police, who detained Mike Bolesta for three hours (in handcuffs) while they brought in the Secret Service to determine whether the bills were genuine. (They were.)

Uncle John's Perpetually Pleasing Bathroom Reader

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Mark Lent
Mark Lent
March 26, 2015 6:57 pm

You left out the very best trivial fact of the $2 bill. If you look on the back, there is a black man added to the Continental Congress. Toward the bottom, left of center.

March 26, 2016 3:17 pm

While in the Navy we had a local mayor ( at the urging of local businesses ) complain that us Navy personnel were not spending money at local businesses, in order to prove him wrong the commander ordered that all personnel be paid in $2 bills. We got our whole paycheck in $2 bills. The city was flooded with $2 bills and the commander was called again and told he made his point and to please stop paying us Navy folks in $2 bills. The mayor later made the commander mad when he accused him of not letting us go… Read more »

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