Sign In or Create Account

Knowledge Center

Who is on the $2 Bill?

The first $2 bill depicted Alexander Hamilton, but Thomas Jefferson replaced Hamilton in 1869, and the third U.S. President has on the $2 notes since, with several notable exceptions. That is only part of the whole story of the $2 note, which has depicted numerous faces and designs throughout its issue. 

Background of the $2 Bill 

The $2 bill has been issued as a U.S. Note, a National Bank Note, a Silver Certificate, a Treasury Note, and finally, as a Federal Reserve Note. 

In a sense, the $2 note is older than the United States of America. The first $2 notes were part of a series known as Continentals, which the first Continental Congress authorized on May 10, 1775, to fund the American Revolutionary War.  

The 1775-1776 $2 notes were Continentals denominated in Spanish dollars and depicted grain being threshed by a hand holding a flail on the obverse. The reverse featured a nature print of a raspberry and two filbert leaves. 

Continentals quickly fell out of favor since they were not backed by physical assets, and the Revolutionaries had issued more than $200 million within five years

When the first circulating dollars of the new nation were authorized by the Coinage Act of 1791, there was no $2 note. The $2 note was not issued again until the Civil War.  

$2 Notes During the Civil War 

The Confederacy authorized $1 and $2 notes in the Act of April 17, 1862, and they were printed that year. The design of Confederate $2 notes featured U.S. senator and Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin, and many issues depicted a personification of ‘The South striking down the Union.’  

The United States authorized the first notes to finance the Civil War in July of 1861 when Congress authorized $50 million in Demand Notes. The next year, in 1862, Congress passed the first Legal Tender Act, which authorized $150 million in United States Notes. Due to the green ink used to print them, these later came to be known as greenbacks. 

The U.S. issued $2 greenbacks featuring Alexander Hamilton surrounded by ornate designs in vivid green on August 1, 1862. While the greenback declined against the value of gold that year, it began a recovery thanks to the 1863 National Banking Act, which made order of the chaotic currency system.  

The was replaced by National Bank Notes as the U.S. dollar made further recovery when the Civil War ended in 1865, and Congress limited the issuance to $450 million.  

$2 Silver Certificates 

Between 1878 and 1964, representative money was issued in the form of silver certificates, and these were the only $2 notes issued since 1869 that did not depict President Thomas Jefferson on the obverse. There were four designs used on the $2 silver certificates. 

The 1886 issue of the $2 silver certificate depicted Winfield Scott Hancock, an Army officer and Democratic nominee in the 1880 Presidential election on its obverse. The reverse had a decorative, patterned background. 

The 1891 $2 silver certificate featured the likeness of William Windom, a politician from Minnesota who served in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate from 1859 to 1883. This reverse also had a decorative background. 

In 1896, the third $2 silver certificates were issued, depicting an allegorical personification of Science Presenting Steam and Electricity to Commerce and Manufacture. Its reverse showed the faces of Robert Fulton, who developed the first commercially successful steamboat, and Samuel F.B. Morse, who developed the Morse code.  

The fourth and final $2 silver certificates were printed in 1899 and featured George Washington on the obverse and another decorative reverse. 

The $2 bill remained in issue as silver certificates became Federal Reserve Bank Notes and Thomas Jefferson was again depicted on the bill’s obverse. 

Today’s $2 Bill 

The $2 bill was resized from large U.S. currency notes to the current size in 1928. It was issued until 1966 when U.S. Notes and the $2 bill were again briefly discontinued.  

In 1976, the $2 bill was issued with a new reverse to celebrate the United States Bicentennial. It has been issued without any further changes since 1976, although many U.S. citizens might not be aware that is still issued today.  

Quick Guides to Investing

Step 1:

Why Buy Physical Gold and Silver?

If you are concerned about the volatility of the stock market, you’re not alone. The extreme highs and lows of the stock market often lead investors towards safe-haven assets, like bullion. Historically, the Precious Metals market has an inverse relationship with the stock market, meaning that when stocks are up, bullion is down and vice versa.

Step 2:

How Much Gold and Silver Should You Have?

This question is one of the most important for investors to answer. After all, experts suggest limits on how much of any types of investments should go into a portfolio. After deciding to purchase and own Precious Metals and considering how much money to allocate, one can then think about how much and what to buy at any point in time.

Step 3:

Which Precious Metals Should I Buy?

With the frequent changes in the market and countless Precious Metal products available, choosing investments can be difficult. Some want Gold or Silver coins, rounds or bars while others want products that are valuable because of their design, mintage or other collectible qualities. Also, collectors may shop for unique sets and individual pieces for their collections.

Step 4:

When to Buy Gold & Silver

After considering why, how much, and what Precious Metals products to buy, an investor’s next step is when to buy them. This decision requires an understanding of market trends and the impact of economic factors on precious metal prices.

Explore More On APMEX



Rare Coins