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#1
Old 01-26-2013, 02:02 PM
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How much are these [$2 bills] worth?

My father passed away recently, and we found something very interesting when going through his dresser drawers. He had an envelope full of unused $2 bills, which in itself is not unusual. These were brought back into circulation in 1976 (see here). Also in the envelope were about 10 bills which had U.S. stamps affixed to them, along with a postmark from the main Baltimore post office dated July 4th, 1976 - the bicentennial. (I do have a hazy memory of going downtown with him that day to get these bills.)

How do I figure out what they are worth, assuming it's more than $2?
#2
Old 01-26-2013, 03:13 PM
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Shinnah, I'm afraid I can't help you, but if you ask a mod to narrow down your subject hed you might hook in a wider audience.
#3
Old 01-26-2013, 03:28 PM
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Somewhere between face value and two bucks.

The thing is, everyone went and got $2 bills that day and got them stamped. They're not rare. Sorry.

It's a nice souvenir, though. Give them to your kids, or frame them and hang 'em on the wall.

Last edited by DCnDC; 01-26-2013 at 03:29 PM.
#4
Old 01-26-2013, 03:36 PM
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I once had a coin I wondered about, so I looked it up in a book I found at one of the large chain bookstores.
#5
Old 01-26-2013, 04:24 PM
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Send a pm to SamClem and ask him to join the thread. He knows a lot about money collectibles.
#6
Old 01-26-2013, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
Somewhere between face value and two bucks.

The thing is, everyone went and got $2 bills that day and got them stamped. They're not rare. Sorry.

It's a nice souvenir, though. Give them to your kids, or frame them and hang 'em on the wall.
Yes, this. I know from a very similar experience to yours which I had about a decade ago.
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#7
Old 01-26-2013, 04:43 PM
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2 dollar bills are not that uncommon. You can routinely get them at banks. If they are worth anything over face value the difference would be minuscule.
#8
Old 01-26-2013, 06:00 PM
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Edited title to indicate subject.
#9
Old 01-26-2013, 06:46 PM
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The ones with stamps were prepared by collectors who put stamps on them and then had them canceled at the post office on the day the $2 bill was issued. As a souvenir.

A quick check of eBay shows similarly stamped and canceled bills selling for $6 to $12 each.
#10
Old 01-26-2013, 06:50 PM
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Yep. Pretty common. It was the fad that year. We pay a nominal $2.50 for them, and I'd probably sell them by the 100 at $3.50 each.

Last edited by samclem; 01-26-2013 at 06:50 PM.
#11
Old 01-26-2013, 10:18 PM
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Yep. Pretty common. It was the fad that year.
But would the Post Office cancel a stamp on an onion on your belt?
#12
Old 01-27-2013, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
Somewhere between face value and two bucks.

The thing is, everyone went and got $2 bills that day and got them stamped. They're not rare. Sorry.

It's a nice souvenir, though. Give them to your kids, or frame them and hang 'em on the wall.
No, everyone got them stamped in April 1976 when the bills were reissued. July 4th, 1976 was a Sunday, no post offices would have been open to "stamp" anything.
#13
Old 01-27-2013, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
I'd probably sell them by the 100 at $3.50 each.
It was about that time I noticed that samclem wasn't a numismatist, but a giant crustacean from the Paleolithic Era!

God dammit, moderator, I ain't giving you no tree-fiddy!

(Probably just blow it all on proof sets and slightly irregular stamps. "Oops, Grant's hat's on backwards. Oops, Queen Victoria's eyes look crossed. Oops, Abe Lincoln looks like a corpse... oh, wait, that's actually not irregular at all.")

Anyway. The lesson here is, most of the things people collect in the hopes they'll become valuable never actually will. Witness, say, every dollar coin introduced in the past half-century or so: Straight from the mint to the sock drawer, thereby ensuring they'll never be worth more than about a dollar.
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#14
Old 01-28-2013, 12:07 AM
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I've mentioned this before but, since OP's Q has been A'ed, will mention a useful trivia factoid again.

Cambodia uses American dollar. When I was in Sihanoukville, I gave $2-bills as tips until I ran out. Having run out, I tried to buy them back for $3 but was refused: they had value as souvenirs! Hence, I conclude they're worth at least $3 ... in Cambodian tourist resorts.

ETA: Thomas Jefferson is world famous. Could his portrait be part of the excess value?

Last edited by septimus; 01-28-2013 at 12:08 AM.
#15
Old 01-28-2013, 12:44 PM
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SamClem says they are worth 3.50 retail - to me that's a substantial increase over face value. Nobody else here like to repalce every $2 they have with $3?

I wonder now though that the post office did this - isn't it defacing currency and isn't that prohibited?
#16
Old 01-28-2013, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankJBN View Post
SamClem says they are worth 3.50 retail - to me that's a substantial increase over face value. Nobody else here like to repalce every $2 they have with $3?

I wonder now though that the post office did this - isn't it defacing currency and isn't that prohibited?
I think defacing currency is only prohibited if it's for the purpose of fraud. In other words, for example, if you drew some extra zeros on the bill in order to pass them as twenties.
#17
Old 01-28-2013, 01:08 PM
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I know of a factory in a little southern town that paid all bonuses in $2 bills. Every year thousands of them showed up in all the local stores.
#18
Old 01-28-2013, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankJBN View Post
SamClem says they are worth 3.50 retail - to me that's a substantial increase over face value. Nobody else here like to repalce every $2 they have with $3?

I wonder now though that the post office did this - isn't it defacing currency and isn't that prohibited?
SamClem, I think, meant $2 bills that were canceled with stamps on the day the bill was issued.
#19
Old 01-28-2013, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suranyi View Post
I think defacing currency is only prohibited if it's for the purpose of fraud. In other words, for example, if you drew some extra zeros on the bill in order to pass them as twenties.
Not quite.

from US Code - Section 333: Mutilation of national bank obligations

Quote:
Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or
unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank
bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national
banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal
Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note,
or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined
under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
Note there's nothing in there about fraud, just making them unfit for reissue. Fraud only applies when modifying coins:

from US Code - Section 331: Mutilation, diminution, and falsification of coins

Quote:
Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs,
diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined
at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are
by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money
within the United States; or
Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or
sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into
the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered,
defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled, or
lightened -
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five
years, or both.
I would say that putting postage stamps on a bill would certainly make it unfit for reissue. The Secret Service routinely suppresses various schemes to deface currency. For instance, a local strip club here in the Portland area was marking the edges of $2 bill with red ink. The SS put pressure on them to stop it: WilliWeek article about it. They also got Where'sGeorge to stop selling rubber stamps meant to be used to mark dollar bills.
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#20
Old 01-28-2013, 04:59 PM
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"SamClem, I think, meant $2 bills that were canceled with stamps on the day the bill was issued."
\
That's what we're all talking about isn't it? Including those who responded like: "Somewhere between face value and two bucks. The thing is, everyone went and got $2 bills that day and got them stamped" and the one directly quoting samclem and saying "most of the things people collect in the hopes they'll become valuable never actually will."

My point was these stamped bills have nearly doubled in value (and according to another post, more than tripled)
#21
Old 01-28-2013, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
SThe thing is, everyone went and got $2 bills that day and got them stamped.
Yes, they did, and I can't for the life of me figure out why there was such a mass belief that this would result in a valuable collectible.

I do treasure mine, though, and remember standing in line to get them stamped.
#22
Old 01-28-2013, 05:40 PM
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There are certain types of notes such as star (replacement) notes which carry a significant premium (but I'm not sure about the 1976 $2s). Anything attached or stamped on them would certainly reduce their value. It's like adding a bumper sticker to your Rolls.
#23
Old 01-28-2013, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankJBN View Post
SamClem says they are worth 3.50 retail - to me that's a substantial increase over face value. Nobody else here like to repalce every $2 they have with $3?
What if you gave me $2 in 1976 and I put it in the stock market? Do you think I'd have more than $3.50 in 2012?

Even at only 1% annual return (compounded) you'd have $4.
#24
Old 01-28-2013, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by phreesh View Post
What if you gave me $2 in 1976 and I put it in the stock market? Do you think I'd have more than $3.50 in 2012?

Even at only 1% annual return (compounded) you'd have $4.
Exactly. I'm pretty sure that you have lost money relative to inflation.
#25
Old 01-30-2013, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by NitroPress View Post
Yes, they did, and I can't for the life of me figure out why there was such a mass belief that this would result in a valuable collectible.

I do treasure mine, though, and remember standing in line to get them stamped.
Because at the time, a stamp cancelled on its first day of issue was considered a collectible. They still are but the rules are now so relaxed that they really aren't so "treasured" anymore.
#26
Old 01-30-2013, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by hajario View Post
Exactly. I'm pretty sure that you have lost money relative to inflation.
Yeah, according to this inflation calculator, for you to have the same purchasing power as in 1976, that $2 would have to be worth $8 today.
#27
Old 01-30-2013, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by BwanaBob View Post
No, everyone got them stamped in April 1976 when the bills were reissued. July 4th, 1976 was a Sunday, no post offices would have been open to "stamp" anything.
It was up to the individual branch managers if they wanted to open that day or not. The Baltimore main post office was open. I don't have a specific cite, but I've read it on several numismatic web sites.
#28
Old 01-30-2013, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnGalt View Post
There are certain types of notes such as star (replacement) notes which carry a significant premium (but I'm not sure about the 1976 $2s). Anything attached or stamped on them would certainly reduce their value. It's like adding a bumper sticker to your Rolls.
Star notes really don't carry that much of a premium, if any, over regular notes.
#29
Old 01-30-2013, 07:53 PM
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I well remember the 1976 series of $2 bills. I always liked the back design, and I was sorry they never caught on.

As it is, I find reverse-side images of all our circulating currency to be dull beyond belief. Before the first design overhaul in the early 1990s, the $20 and $20 had some interesting details, like the bushes on the $20 and the corner view of the Treasury building on the $10. Now that's all gone, and for that matter, $10-bills themselves, pretty much.
#30
Old 01-31-2013, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Shinna Minna Ma View Post
It was up to the individual branch managers if they wanted to open that day or not. The Baltimore main post office was open. I don't have a specific cite, but I've read it on several numismatic web sites.
I did not know that.
Still, the bills were issued on April 13, 1976, not July 4. Only that date stamped on the $2 bill would have had any significance.
#31
Old 01-31-2013, 11:03 AM
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And if, say, you were born on April 13, 1976. Or even better if it was your kid's second birthday.

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 01-31-2013 at 11:04 AM.
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