Your $2 bill could be worth thousands

Rare examples of the bills are fetching top dollar at auctions

If you’ve got some old $2 bills tucked away somewhere, you might want to check the serial numbers. They could be worth a lot more than their face value.

According to Heritage Auctions — the largest collectible currency auction house in the world — $2 bills, which have been issued since 1929, have recently caught the attention of collectors, with some rare examples going for thousands at auction.

Recent sales include a 2003 bill with a low serial number that fetched $2,400 — only to be resold for $4,000.

While the bills were largely withdrawn from circulation since the late 70s, the bills have continued to be printed, so they’re not quite as rare as many people think.

“Americans don’t spend $2 bills, because they think they are markedly scarce. However, the numbers tell us a different story,” Dustin Johnston, vice president of Heritage Auctions, told MarketWatch. “Just in the last five years, they’ve printed 100 million $2 bills. The fact that they don’t circulate and are kept as mementos is a little bit odd. Very few of them have numismatic or collector value.”

What to look for

So what separates an an ordinary $2 bill from a valuable collectors item? It all comes down to three factors: the serial number, the date and the note’s condition.

“What we look at is fancy serial numbers,” Johnston said. “A serial number ‘1′ for a 1976 $2 bill would be worth $20,000 or more. But for a majority of those people holding 1976 $2 bills, they are only worth face value. There are very few that actually exceed face value.”

According to MarketWatch, other highly-prized serial numbers include “solids” — when all the numbers are the same, like 2222222222 — and “ladders” — where the serial number is sequential, like 12345678910.

Much more collectible are the extra large notes issued before 1918.

“Beyond the fancy serial numbers, most of the value is going to be in the large size notes from 1918 and prior. The 1918s are very common. They typically start at $80 to $100 and go up from there,” Johnston added. “The more recent ones, the 1920s and beyond, well over 99% are going to be worth marginally over face value.”

If you have a $2 bill and want to check its value, visit the Heritage Auctions website, where you can upload an image of your bill.

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