February 17, 2016
2 bills are seen in circulation so rarely that some people still think they’re counterfeit.
Not too long ago I had to mosey on down to my local hardware store because I needed propane for my barbecue grill. The total price for the refill came to $17.96.
At first I tried to pay with a credit card but, for some reason, their machine was on the fritz, so I gave the kid the only money I had in my wallet: a $20 bill.
In return, he gave me a $2 bill and four pennies. I’m not kidding. Talk about a numismatic nightmare.
Of course, the cashier tried to convince me that he had just handed over $2.04, but as far as I was concerned, he gave me the financial equivalent of two matchsticks and a ball of lint. If that.
After all, nobody spends $2 bills — and everybody hates pennies.
The truth is, if you’re like me and most other people, pennies typically get tossed into desk drawers or five-gallon pickle jars — and sometimes even the trash — never to be seen again.
As for $2 bills, because people rarely ever see them, they usually end up being tucked away in old dressers and other secret hiding places as souvenirs or, maybe, wondrous birthday and Christmas gifts for kids.
Of course, people rarely see them because nobody ever spends them.
Anyway, here are 18 facts you probably didn’t know about all those $2 bills you’re currently squirreling away for no good reason:
- Although Thomas Jefferson has been featured on the $2 bill since 1869, it was Alexander Hamilton’s portrait that originally graced the front of the bill when it was introduced in 1862.
- Jefferson’s home, the Monticello, was first featured on the bill’s reverse side in 1929. The Monticello gift shop reportedly now gives them out as change to encourage their circulation.
- In 1925, the US government tried — unsuccessfully — to increase the popularity of the $2 bill by placing one in federal employee pay envelopes.
- After years of public indifference to the $2 bill, production was finally discontinued in 1966, only to be restarted as part of the American Bicentennial celebration in 1976.
- The revised $2 bill from 1976 replaced the Monticello with a depiction of John Trumbull’s painting, “Declaration of Independence.”