Two dollar bill with red ink?

In a box in my room (I’m not there now, so I’m not sure about some of this info), I have three two dollar bills. I know at least one and maybe all three of them have red writing on them. I’m pretty sure that the treasurer’s signature is red, and a couple of other things as well.

My question is: What the hell? when did we ever have bills with red ink on them? Why did we stop?

I’m pretty sure the date on the bills was from the fifties, but since I haven’t really looked at them in years, I could easily be wrong about that.

Also, if anyone knows, whatever happened to two dollar bills? I sort of like them.

I tried the Mint’s web page, but they’re too busy selling gold commemerative coins to have anything good up.

The Mint does coins. Bills come from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Maybe you can find an answer there.

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What you have are $2 “silver certificates”. All bills of that series were printed in the same color scheme. They are still worth $2 in the market, but a collector may pay up to $2.01 for it. In other words, just spend them. Don’t have a clue why the Treasury used red ink, or why they stopped.

They are still being printed and circulated. Your local bank should have a supply.

That’s because the US Mint makes coins, the US Treasury prints bills. The Treasury web page has more info than you’d ever care to know about currency.

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Thank you for the help, but they don’t say much about any red ink. I still hope someone out there knows the answer.

I think what you might have is a “U.S. Note”, which is different than the old silver certificates and from the Federal Reserve Notes used today. I have a 2 dollar U.S. Note that has the seal and the serial numbers in red ink, but not the signatures as far as I can remember. I believe U.S. Notes were issued to military personnel and in U.S. possessions, but that’s sort of a WAG. Look at the top of the bill; if I’m right, it should say “U.S. Note” where most other bills should say “Federal Reserve Note”.


I used to have a $2 bill with the red treasury seal and serial numbers. It also had Montecello on the back instead of the DOI signing, but I guess even the regular ones had that too. Mine were series 1963. I’ve also seen an old $100 gold certificate with yellow ink from the late 30’s. That stuff is still out there.

At various times, different bills had different color inks. It depends on the type of bill. There used to be Silver Certificate and Gold Certificates, and probably a handful of others.

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I think the reason you don’t see too many $2 bills is because people keep them in their rooms. .)

Ray (Maybe pack rats like them better for some reason.)

The main reason you don’t see $2 bills is that there’s no convenient place to put them in a modern cash register, which has five drawers – $1, $5, $10, $20, and $50 (some only have four, BTW, which makes it even less likely). When a merchant gets a $2 bill (assuming he accepts it – I know of one person who was considered a counterfeiter because he wanted to buy a taco with a $2 bill), he puts it in the drawer under the cash. Consequently, he doesn’t give the $2 back in change. At the end of the day, the $2 gets deposited in the bank.

Even if there was a spot for a $2, most people don’t bother with them when making change, preferring to give out two $1 bills. Again, if the bills aren’t being given back to a customer as change, they go back to the bank. The bill just doesn’t circulate.

“East is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.” – Marx

Read “Sundials” in the new issue of Aboriginal Science Fiction.