The riddle of a two-dollar bill
Two US dollars - US banknote. Thomas Jefferson is depicted on the obverse, a reproduction of John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence on the reverse.
The production of the bill was discontinued in 1966, but 10 years later, to the celebration of the bicentennial of US independence, it was restored. Nowadays, almost no new copies are created (about 1% of all issued banknotes), so it can rarely be seen in use. This gave rise to the myth that two-dollar bills were taken out of circulation, which causes problems for people who want to pay them.
The rarity can be explained by the fact that the 1976 edition was unusually perceived by the population (and even became a collectible) and was not in demand in monetary transactions. By August 1996, when a new series was released, these banknotes had almost disappeared.
Try asking one of your friends traveling to the United States to bring you a $ 2 banknote. Most likely, upon returning, they will tell you that they did not see at all, or - that there are none. Despite the fact that a 2 dollar bill is included in the standard set of banknotes throughout the history of the United States, it is very difficult to meet it in free circulation.
For purely psychological reasons, this banknote, having appeared in circulation, is immediately withdrawn from it and migrated to citizens' wallets, exported abroad, sold at auctions, and resold to numismatists.
What is the reason? Why is a 2 dollar bill rare? The reason, probably - in a number of myths associated with this bill, "bringing happiness and success."
A two-dollar bill, issued in 1976 in honor of the bicentennial of the United States, is considered rare by many collectors. Yes, and how not to consider it like that, even if in the serious reference book “From the dollar to the yen. World Currencies Guide, issued in 1995 by order of leading commercial banks, states that "two-dollar bills ... were issued in small numbers, and not all Americans held them in their hands." The dignity of a two-dollar banknote is familiar to America - it has been used in the US money circulation since time immemorial. Such a bill was already included in the set of banknotes of the first issue, carried out in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775. Two-dollar bills were issued then by separate states: in Maryland - since 1770, in New York and North Carolina - since 1775, in Georgia and New Hampshire - since 1776, etc. During the 1st Civil War of 1861-1865. many states also issued their money, among which were two-dollar bills.
The first two-dollar banknotes were issued by the US Federal Government in 1862. They depicted a portrait of the first secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. However, already in 1869, this portrait was replaced by the image of the third US president and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. However, initially two-dollar bills were not popular with banks and among the population. There are several explanations for this, the most common of which is that in most cash registers there was no separate space for banknotes with a face value of $ 2. Apparently, this explanation makes some sense. For the same reason, let’s say in Germany, banknotes of 5 marks were not popular.
There is an opinion that two-dollar banknotes were easily confused with banknotes with a face value of 1 dollar, and this also entailed some inconvenience. In addition, popular belief has spread that banknotes of 2 dollars bring bad luck. All this led to the low prevalence of banknotes. The situation reached the point of absurdity when sellers refused to accept two-dollar banknotes in stores.
In the CIS countries, there are still cases of refusal to accept two-dollar bills by exchange offices, citing the fact that there is no properly executed sample of these bills, especially the anniversary series.
The last time the dollar underwent a serious alteration in 1928 - the size of all notes was reduced, and their appearance was standardized and has survived to our days with minor changes. Among the banknotes of this type, a two-dollar bill is also issued.
On its front side is Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826), a prominent statesman and public figure, the “father” of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States.
On the reverse side of a 1928 bill, the Jefferson Monticello estate is depicted (from the Italian Small Mountain). It was built according to his own design. The house was full of various technical improvements, including those developed by the owner himself. Here the "wise man from Monticchiello" lived his last 17 years, here he received many guests, conducted extensive correspondence - over a thousand letters a month - with many American and European politicians, scientists and public figures. His library in Monticello numbered about six and a half thousand volumes and was one of the best in America. It marked the beginning of the Library of Congress. Since 1926, Monticello has been a memorial museum, a national shrine to the United States. It is interesting to note that the portrait of Jefferson and his estate are also depicted on the front and back of the American "nickel" - coins of 5 cents.
Jefferson is also depicted on the 1976 “rare” two-dollar bill. On the flip side, the adoption of the Declaration of Independence is depicted. This drawing is a reproduction of the painting by the famous American artist J. Trumbull, “Signing the Declaration of Independence,” one of eight huge canvases hanging on the Capitol Rotunda. It depicts a meeting of the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, proclaiming the separation of 13 North American colonies from Great Britain. The picture depicts a specific moment when Jefferson, along with four other members of the committee for the preparation of the Declaration of Independence, passes the draft Declaration to the Continental Congress President Hancock for signing (sitting in the chair on the right). The picture depicted 48 people, only 44 of them fit on the banknote. At the same time, 36 characters were written by the artist during his lifetime.
Thomas Jefferson at the time of the adoption of the Declaration was only 33 years old, so he is depicted in the picture. After this event, he lived (day to day) for another fifty years, was the Governor of Virginia, Secretary of State, i.e. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vice President, President (with him, by the way, in 1808-1809 diplomatic relations were established with Russia). On the front side of two-dollar banknotes, he is already depicted as a mature statesman, obviously, of the period of his presidency (portraits on 10 of 12 American banknotes of various denominations are portraits of presidents).
The 1976 two-dollar bill was printed in millions of copies. But, obviously, banknotes of this denomination do not suit the population of the United States. The most popular is a one-dollar banknote, which is 47% of the total number of all banknotes in circulation. Her average “life expectancy” is only a year and a half, during which time she turns from a crisp bill into a crumpled and torn piece of paper that needs to be replaced. And every day, only the New York Federal Bank destroys worn-out one-dollar bills worth more than $ 35 million! And a huge supply of unclaimed "rare" two-dollar bills of 1976 is useless in the Treasury. Obviously, it is these bills that do not participate in circulation, do not wear out, and therefore do not need to be replaced.
There are a number of legends regarding that dollar bill. In accordance with one of them, if you have this bill in your wallet, then the money will not be transferred in it. Another legend has some sexual context. Well, numismatists are already experiencing professional interest in this bill. After all, what is difficult to meet in circulation always attracts the attention of numismatists.
2 dollars 1862
2 dollars 1862 (reverse)
2 dollars 1869
2 dollars 1869 (reverse)
2 dollars 1886
2 dollars 1886 (reverse)
2 dollars 1896
2 dollars 1896 (reverse)
2 dollars 1899
2 dollars 1899 (reverse)
2 dollars 1918
2 dollars 1918 (reverse)
2 dollars 1928
2 dollars 1928 (reverse)
2 dollars 1953
2 dollars 1953 (reverse)
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