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R e s e r v e Ba n k o f D a l l a s


C i r c u l a r No. 76-36
M a rc h 9, 1976

American Revolution Bicentennial


O n A p r i l 13, a n ew s e r i e s 1976 $2 F e d e r a l R e s e r v e n o te w ill
b e m a d e a v a i l a b l e to t h e p u b l i c . B efo re t h e n , t h i s B an k w ill d i s t r i b u t e
t h e n o te s to a ll b a n k s in t h e E l e v e n t h D i s t r i c t t h r o u g h its r e g u l a r
a r m o r e d c a r r i e r a n d mail s e r v i c e s . B a n k e r s a r e u r g e d to p a r t i c i p a t e
a c t i v e l y in p r o m o t i n g p u b l i c a c c e p t a n c e o f th i s n e w n o t e , s i n c e its u s e
b y t h e p u b l i c c o u l d r e d u c e t h e v o lu m e of c u r r e n c y h a n d l e d b y t h e b a n k ­
in g a n d b u s i n e s s c o m m u n it ie s .
T h e i s s u a n c e o f t h e s e n o te s e n d s a 1 0 - y e a r a b s e n c e o f $2 b i l l s .
I s s u e d in co m m e m o ra tio n o f T h o m a s J e f f e r s o n ' s b i r t h d a y a n d in c o n j u n c ­
tion w ith t h e B i c e n t e n n i a l , t h e n e w $2 n o te is s e e n a s a p e r m a n e n t a d d i ­
tio n to c u r r e n c y in c i r c u l a t i o n .
T h e $2 n o te is e x p e c t e d to r e p l a c e a b o u t h a l f of t h e $1 n o te s
in c i r c u l a t i o n o v e r t h e n e x t s e v e r a l y e a r s . If s o , t h e T r e a s u r y ' s B u r e a u
of E n g r a v i n g a n d P r i n t i n g a n d t h e F e d e r a l R e s e r v e S y s te m c o u l d r e a l i z e
a su b stan tial cost s a v in g s .
E n c lo s e d y o u w ill f in d le aflets p r e p a r e d from in fo rm a tio n p r o ­
v i d e d b y t h e T r e a s u r y D e p a r t m e n t . A lim ite d s u p p l y of a d d i tio n a l leaf­
le ts is a v a i l a b l e t h r o u g h t h e S e c r e t a r y ' s Office of t h i s B a n k .
S in ce rely y o u rs ,
E rnest T . Baughm an
P resident
E nclosures

This publication was digitized and made available by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Historical Library (



• The new two-dollar Federal Reserve note will have

the signatures o f William E. Simon, Secretary of the
Treasury, and Francine I. Neff, Treasurer of the U.S.
• By April 13, 1976, Thomas Jefferson's birthday,
225,000,000 new bills will be available to banks
through the Federal Reserve System. An annual
printing o f 400,000,000 is anticipated.


• Issuance o f the bill is designed to save the Fed­
eral Reserve System about $27 million and the Trea­
sury nearly $8 million during the next five years.
• The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to
determine design and denomination o f currency by
the Federal Reserve Act passed by Congress in 1913.

• Previous production o f the two-dollar bill was an
estimated 6 million pieces o f currency annually.
• The last issue of the bill was the 1963A series U.S.
note, featuring Jefferson on the face and Monticello
on the back plate. Printing o f this bill en d ed in May
1965 and it was officially discontinued in August
the following year.
• The front
to the 1963
a rendering
d ependence

o f the new bill will be similar in design
version, but the reverse plate will depict
o f the signing o f the Declaration of In­
b y John Trumbull.

• During initial production, it is estimated 11 mil­
lion bills will be printed each day.

• Total preparation time for any new denomination
of currency is 17 weeks.
• There are approxim ately $135,288,000 bills of
earlier printings still in the hands o f the public.
• The two-dollar bill is being issued in conjunction
with the Bicentennial. However, it will continue to be
issued in subsequent years.

• There will not be a " collector's" or special numis­
matic issue of the new note.
• The two-dollar denomination dates back to 1776.
Since 1862, it has been issued as official U.S. cur­
rency in the form of Treasury notes, silver certifi­
cates, national bank currency, U.S. notes and Federal
Reserves notes with various portraits.
January 1976

A F ederal Reserve Publication





A s indigenous to our country as the wild turkey,
the two-dollar bill has a rich tradition in Ameri­
can history. Originating on June 25, 1776, the de­
nomination was first issued by the Continental Con­
gress as "bills of credit for the defense of America."
Under this authority, 49,000 pieces were circulated.

D uring the Civil War, an Act of Congress recog­
nized the two-dollar denomination as a form of
U.S. currency, and it reappeared in subsequent
years as over-size U.S. notes, silver certificates. Trea­
sury notes, national bank currency and Federal Re­
serve notes with various portraits, including Alexander
Hamilton, James B. McPherson, Winfield S. Hancock,
William Windom and George Washington. In 1928,
the more familiar size, with the portrait of Thomas
Jefferson, was introduced.

The tw o -dollar





history as official

U.S. currency:
• 1862 — U.S. note authorized by an Act of Con­
gress, bearing the portrait of A lexander Ham ilton.
Amount issued not recorded.
• 1869 — U.S. note with Congressional authorization,
bearing the portrait of Thomas Jefferson. Total of

1963-1963A series in May 1965. It was a U.S.
note and bore the signatures of then Secretary of
the Treasury Henry Fowler and Treasurer of the U.S.
Kathryn O. Granahan. Lack of public demand across
the nation resulted in their discontinuance.

N umerous and varied reasons for the unpopularity
of the bill were given at the time. Erroneously,
it was claimed that some people were handing out
twos instead of ones. Some alleged they were mis­
takenly accepting the bills as 20s. Two was even
said to be an unlucky number. However, the limited
circulation of the note has been attributed to the
low level of production of the bills. Total volume of
two-dollar bills in 1966 was $139,321,994 or onethird of one percent of all outstanding currency. This
scarcity gave the public the impression two-dollar
bills were unavailable or an "oddity."

T h e two-dollar bill being issued during the bicen■ tennial year is produced from a steel intaglio
engraving similar to all other denominations of U.S.
currency. The single color design used in the printing
of all American currency now in circulation has been
extended to include the new note, since expert judg­
ment deems the technique to be an optimal deter­
rent to counterfeiting.

14.408.000 issued.
• 1074 — U.S. note authorized by Congress
Jefferson's portrait. 11,632,000 circulated.




1875 — U.S.

note authorized

Jefferson's portrait.

11,518,0 00

by Congress

• 1875 — N ational bank currency in itiated by an
Act of Congress, bearing a symbolic vignette. Amount

T h e face plate re-introduces a portrait of Thomas
■ Jefferson, painted in the early 1800s by Gilbert
Stuart, and incorporates the features of the last twodollar U.S. note with a change in designation to
Federal Reserve note. Jefferson's portrait was re­
tained, since he is universally recognized as the
author of the Declaration of Independence.

totaled 1,381,205.

1878 — U.S.

note authorized

by Congress


Jefferson's portrait. Issued 4,676,000.

T he last printing of the two-dollar bill was the


• 1 8 8 0 — U.S. note bearing Jefferson's portrait ini­
tiated by Congress. Circulated 28,212,0 00.

1886 — Silver certificate authorized

by Congress,

bearing portrait o f Winfield S. Hancock, American
general and politician. 2 1,0 00 ,0 0 0 issued.

1891 — Treasury note initiated by Congress, bear­

ing portrait o f James B. McPherson, Civil W a r gen­
eral. Circulation was 24,904,000.

1891 — Stiver certificate bearing portrait o f W il­

liam Windom, Secretary of the Treasury under Pres­
idents Garfield and Harrison. 2 0,988,000 issued.
• 1896 — Silver certificate w ith symbolic vignette,
authorized by Congress in the amount o f 20,652,000.

1899 — Silver certificate w ith portrait of George

Washington. Circulation of 538,734,0 00.

1918 — Federal Reserve bank note authorized by

the Federal Reserve Act, bearing Jefferson's portrait.
Circulation 68,116,000.

“P h e design of the reverse plate of the bill is com1 pletely new. The vignette is based upon John
Trumbull's painting, "The Signing of the Declaration
of Independence." However, aesthetic considerations
required that six figures appearing on the extreme
left and right hand borders of the original art be
dropped in the rendition. The work was done by
Trumbull during the post-Revolutionary War period
and he later was commissioned to reproduce the
painting in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C.
The original today hangs in the Trumbull Gallery at
Yale University.
“p h e new bills will be issued by the Federal Reserve
1 System to banking institutions throughout the
country by April 13, 1976 in sufficient amounts to
meet public demand. Of course, the public is the
key factor to successful revival of the two-dollar bill
and to making it a permanent component of the
nation's currency.

n recent months, increased interest in a two-dollar
note has been expressed by Congress, the Amer­
ican Revolution Bicentennial Administration, the pub­
lic, the Federal Reserve System and collectors. Based
upon this, the Secretary of the Treasury authorized
revival of the bill stating it will be in the best in­
terest of the American public and the economy.

1928 — U.S. note authorized by Secretary o f the

A dditionally, substantial savings to the Federal

Treasury for introduction o f small size currency. Bear­

government, totaling an estimated $35 million
during the next five years, serve as a further incen­
tive for circulation and use of the new bill. An aver­
age of 1.7 billion one-dollar notes are required each
year, accounting for nearly 60 percent of the total
volume of currency printed. The Treasury hopes the
two-dollar bill will replace about half of the "ones"
in circulation.


ing Jefferson's portrait, circulation was 430,760,000.
• 1953 — U.S. note with Jefferson's portrait. Total of
79.920.000 issued.

1963 — U.S. note with Jefferson's portrait. Total


18.560.000 issued.

k ______________________________________ d

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102