The rebirth of the $2 bill
The Treasury Dept. is reviving the
|NEW YORK (CNNfn) -- It's been 17 years
since the last ones were printed, but the $2 bill is making a comeback.
"The $2 bill has been a part of American currency since 1776, when it was issued by the Continental Congress," Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin said. "And it had been issued periodically ever since, whenever the supply in the system runs out. It's now run out."
Rubin said there are some 500 million $2 bills in circulation, almost all of them from the series in 1976. But even if these bills are worn out and need replacing, not many people use twos. (QuickTime movie, 1.2MB)
Barber Frank Lagana said nobody has ever come into his shop and paid with a $2 bill.
"I never remember one yet," he said, adding that he's been in business for 60 years.
The modern cash register has no compartment for $2 bills. The New York Federal Reserve Bank says it has all the twos it needs. Yet Washington is printing 102 million more of them, at a cost of 4 cents apiece. The tab is picked up by the Fed, which is a self-funding agency.
"There's no incremental cost to the United States government in printing this bill again," Rubin said.
If history is a guide, many people will hoard $2 bills as collector's items. But they aren't really worth saving, according to an expert.
"(They're worth) probably $2. I've spent them," coin and bill dealer Jules Karp said. "Sometimes you can get them from your local bank."
Bills from the last century can be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. The new series does feature Secretary Rubin's signature, but as autographs go, it's value as a collectible is... about $2.
Copyright © 1996 Cable News Network, Inc.
Most people save $2 bills as collector's items.
Modern cash registers don't have space for twos.
Older twos from the last century are actually valuable.
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