Monday, February 27, 2006

"Two-Dollar Bill"

For some insane reason, my postings have been running 50/50 with ability to see the photos at work, thus the paucity of postage in recent days.

Anyway, I recall my father telling me a story about when he was younger and he knew someone who, when they got their paycheck, would go to the bank and cash it and receive nothing but $2 bills. Everyone called him "Two Dollar Tom" or something like that.

Actually, I'm not sure 100% that this story even came via Dad. I may have just absorbed it from some other source and associated with the Ancient One, Blessed be He (Dad).

So, I have been visiting the local HSBC branch in nearby Penn Station and mentioned it to tone of the tellers, casually, "Uh, like, do ya' have any two dollar bills?" I always get strange looks.

On Thursday of last week, one of the other employees overheard me and said they had some in the vault. So today, I exchanged 4 Hamiltons for 20 Jeffersons.

And already I have interesting tales to tell. First of all, I was shocked to see that some of the bills are series 2003. Many of us thought that these were out of circulation. There's even a 1995 series.

In addition, a co-worker told me that she was advised when she worked for a bank, that she was told that the bills were taken out of circulation because, on the back
one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence appears to be African-American.
"Too much ink," she was told.

The man in question is sitting, sixth from the left. It's hard to tell, but I can see how such a rumor can get started.

Well obviously, they're still in circulation but in limited use.

The image on the back first appeared on the 1976 series. This, lifted from the U.S. Mint site:

In celebration of the United States' bicentennial, a $2 Federal Reserve Note, Series 1976, was introduced. The new design maintained the portrait of Jefferson on the face but the back was changed from Monticello to a vignette of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The $2 Federal Reserve Note features an engraving of John Trumbull's painting "The Signing of the Declaration of Independence." The original Trumbull painting portrayed 47 people, 42 of whom were signers of the Declaration (there were 56 total). However, because of a limited amount of space on the note, 5 of 47 men in the painting were not included in the engraving.

So, here is how this ties into BillyBlog. There's an urban legend that a man was resfused service at Taco Bell because the cashier or the manager refused to accept a $2 bill. The legend is discussed here.

I've decided to see what happens when I start passing these bills back into circulation. I'll report interesting anecdotes here. Should be fun!

1 comment:

Benjie516 said...

If you compare the number of feet to the number of heads seated in the front row, you will find that there are a couple of spurious extremities therein. Either that or there's a few giants in the back rows.

Or so I would have you believe.