Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Jefferson’

The $2 and $100 Bills-The Rarer Currencies

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

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The first two dollar notes were called United States Notes or “Legal Tenders”. They were issued by the Federal Government in 1862, featuring a portrait of the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. In 1869, Thomas Jefferson’s portrait started being used and the same portrait has continued to be used for all two dollar United States Notes and all two dollar Federal Reserve Notes. Monticello was first featured as the vignette on the back of the two dollar United States Note in 1928. Monticello was Thomas Jefferson’s estate in Virginia.

In 1976, in celebration of the United States bicentennial, a two dollar Federal Reserve Note was introduced. Thomas Jefferson’s portrait was still on the face but Monticello was replaced on the back by a vignette of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This painting of the Declaration of Independence was painted by John Trumbull. The original portrayed forty-seven people, 42 of whom were signers out of the fifty-six on the Declaration of Independence. Because of a limited amount of space on the two dollar note, five of the forty-seven were left off. The most recent printing of the two dollar note was in 2003 and at this time there are no plans to redesign it.

The first one-hundred dollar notes were also called United States Notes or Legal Tenders. They were issued by the Federal Government in 1862 and they featured a vignette of an American eagle. Benjamin Franklin first had his portrait on the one hundred dollar note in 1914, the first series of these Federal Reserve Notes. The one hundred dollar note is the largest denomination of Federal Reserve Notes that are currently issued in the United States. The life span of a one hundred dollar Federal Reserve Note is 89 months on average. This is much longer than other denominations of currency since this is rarer and circulated less than they are.

In 1996, the one hundred dollar Federal Reserve Note featured large portraits, watermarks and color-shifting ink. The notes also included micro-printing, which is lettering so small that it is hard to replicate, on the front of the note. “USA 100” is written in the numbers located in the lower left corner and “United Sates of America” is in one line on the left lapel of Benjamin Franklin’s coat.

Since 1928, the vignette on the back of the one hundred dollar note has featured an engraving of Independence Hall, the former State House of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. Independence Hall is often called the birthplace of our Nation because inside is where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where the Constitution of the United States was drafted. It has been said that the man and women in front of the hall close to the building are embracing but there is no record of that. The hands on the clock on the hall are set to 4:10. There doesn’t seem to be any explanation as to why this time was chosen.

The Presidents on United States Currency

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

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The decision as to which United States President graces the designs on the dollar bill is determined by thedollar tree United States Congress. United States Presidents have appeared on official banknotes, coins for circulation and commemorative coins in the United States as well as all around the world. Even throughout phases of redesigns, although there were significant changes in fabrication, the presidents which are depicted on the currency remained the same.

Currently, images of presidents that are struck on United States coins are Abraham Lincoln who was the 16th U.S. President for the penny, Thomas Jefferson who was the 3rd U.S. President for the Nickel, Franklin D Roosevelt who was the 32nd U.S. President for the Dime, George Washington who was the 1st U.S. President for the Quarter, John F Kennedy who was the 35th U.S. President for the Half Dollar, and Dwight D Eisenhower for the one dollar coin, although one dollar coins depicting President Eisenhower was ceased in 1978. Susan B Anthony and Sacagawea, both significant historical figures, currently grace United States one dollar coins.

The names of the presidents depicted on the United States paper currency are George Washington who was the 1st U.S. President for the one dollar bill, Thomas Jefferson who was the 3rd U.S. President for the two dollar bill, Abraham Lincoln who was the 16th U.S. President for the five dollar bill, Andrew Jackson who was the 7th U.S. President for the twenty dollar bill, Ulysses S Grant who was the 18th U.S. President for the fifty dollar bill, and Benjamin Franklin on the one hundred dollar bill. Note that Benjamin Franklin was not a President of the United States, although he was a very prominent figure in its history.

Other presidents that were featured are William McKinley who was the 25th U.S. President on the five hundred dollar bill, Grover Cleveland who was the 22nd and 24th U.S. President on the one thousand dollar bill, James Madison who was the 4th U.S. President on the five thousand dollar bill, and Woodrow Wilson who was the 25th U.S. President on the one hundred thousand dollar bill. Salmon P Chase, depicted on the ten thousand dollar bill, was a former Secretary of the Treasury and was the only non-president that was depicted in the larger denominations of the United States currency. All of these notes, however, are now considered obsolete and are no longer in circulation.

Recently, the Presidential Dollar Coin Program was passed by congress and former presidents will be honored if their death is two or more years before the intended issue date of these coins. Presidents that will grace these coins to date, in sequential order, are George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford,  and Ronald Reagan. Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush may be depicted as well if they meet the requirement above.

The Incredible Two Dollar Bill

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

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two dollar bill

The $2 bill is arguably the most controversial US currency of all time. One of the rarest and least use denomination, the $2 bill’s obverse illustration of Thomas Jefferson, adopted in 1929, is the oldest design of all US paper currencies today, whereas, The Declaration of Independence drawing, featured on its reverse, was designed in 1976.

It could be that the reason why the $2 bill is so scarce today is because it’s the least circulated currency in history, currently running at a 1% float! The $2 bill was first introduced in 1862, and in 1966, a century later, its production was stopped following the discontinuation of the United States Notes, which was the currency class it was assigned to at that time. Unlike the rest of the denominations, the $2 bill did not make the reassignment to the Federal Reserve Note class of the United States, largely due to its lack of popularity back then. Its demise was however short lived. The $2 bill made a comeback in 1976, as part of the bicentennial, and was finally inducted into the Federal Reserve Note class.

Most $2 bills in circulation today are from the 1976 series, with the newer bills printed as and when needed. It is said that the demand for the $2 bill is so low that a single batch of prints will last for years. Its perceived rarity is said to be largely due to the lack of public knowledge of the currency and its even more sporadic printing. Its almost never traded in commercial transactions, even as change, and this led to a greater propensity to store any $2 bills encountered, which over time resulted in its decline.

The $2 bill was also, initially, only assigned to a single class currency, the United States Note, which had a statutory limit of, $346,861,016, in circulation at any given time. This class was later passed on to the $5 bill and here was where the imminent doom of the $2 bill began, completely seizing its production in 1966.

Even after the reintroduction of the $2 bill in 1976, it didn’t garner enough interest amongst businesses to generate potential increase in circulation, although, it was greeted with adequate curiosity and was primarily seen as a collectible.

These days, contrary to a widespread fallacy that the currency is no longer in use, the $2 bill continues to strive in proving its worth as a tradable currency and is slowly working its way back into the hearts of the masses. The only way to achieve this feat, according to the US Treasury, is for businesses to use them as they would any other denomination and for banks to stop shunning them out.

Given all that, surprisingly enough, in 2005 alone, 61 million $2 bills were printed, a steep and significant surge since 1990. Could this be an indication that the $2 bill is here to stay, or will it continue to inspire more urban legends and myths and someday disappear again into oblivion, as it did once before. What’s your take on it?