Many people like to collect old coins and paper money. While others collect them purely out of historical interest, others like to collect old money for their value. But how do you know which coins or paper notes are worth collecting either for their historical or monetary value?
In this article, we focus on the 1963 $2 bill. We will explore its value in different conditions. You will also find information on how paper notes are valued using the standard grading system and potential errors you might find on 1963 $2 bills.
1963 $2 Bill Value
|Type||Circulated Condition||Uncirculated Condition||Star Serial Numbers||Most Valuable|
|1963 $2 Bill Value with a Red Seal||$8 – $9||$20||$12 – $40||$1,200|
|1963-A $2 Bill Value with a Red Seal||$9||$20||$9 – $90||$2,000|
1963 $2 Bill Value with Red Seal
The 1963 and 1963-A $2 bills are identical except for a letter at the end of the serial number which refers to the printing period of the notes. The 1963 $2 bill has the signatures of Treasury Secretary Clarence Douglas Dillon and Treasurer Kathryn Elizabeth Granahan. They were part of the red-seal currency series with red seals and serial numbers.
While circulated $2 bills from 1963 are not worth much over their face value, uncirculated notes can be valued around $20 and star serial notes between $12 to $40. Some rare mint condition specimens can even be worth around $1,200.
The $2 notes from 1963 are still considered legal tender today and you can use them to make purchases just like any other legal US currency. Despite them still being legal tender, they are not often seen in everyday transactions and have gained a bit of a cult following among enthusiasts and collectors.
Front Design of 1963 $2 Bill
The design on the front of the bill features a portrait of Thomas Jefferson who was the third president of the United States. His portrait is inside an oval frame and is based on a painting by John Trumbull. The words “The United States of America” and “Monticello” are above the portrait, printed in a decorative font.
Below the president’s portrait is the denomination “Two Dollars” which is printed in large letters. To the right of the portrait is the red seal, the words “United States Note”, and the red serial numbers all printed in red ink.
Back Design of 1963 $2 Bill
The back of the 1963 $2 bill features a reproduction of “The Signing of the Declaration of Independence”, a painting by John Trumbull. It depicts the moment when the Continental Congress declared the thirteen American colonies’ independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776.
The scene, set in Independence Hall in Philadelphia, includes portraits of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson among others who were all present at the signing of the declaration. The words “The Signing of the Declaration of Independence” are above the painting in decorative font, and the denomination “Two Dollars” is below the painting.
History of the1963 $2 Bill
The $2 bills were first issued in 1862 because there was a shortage of coins during the Civil War. The $2 bill was discontinued in 1966 due to low demand. However, it was reintroduced as part of the United States’ bicentennial celebrations in 1976.
The design of the $2 bill has been through different incarnations. Some of the notable versions include the ”Lady Deuce” design from 1890 that featured a large number ”2” and the ”Funny Back” labeled note from 1928 which had a whimsical design on the reverse, hence the nickname.
Throughout its history, the $2 bill has been less commonly used in everyday transactions compared to other denominations available in the United States. It may be because some people believe it is no longer legal tender or because they hold onto it thinking it is a rare and therefore valuable banknote.
In recent years, there have been some efforts to increase the use of the $2 bill to stop people hoarding them and treating them as novelty notes. Some businesses have distributed them to promote circulation and others have promoted their acceptance.
1963-A $2 Bill Value with Red Seal
The 1963-A $2 bill, while otherwise identical to the $2 bill described above, has a letter at the end of the serial number, which indicates it was produced at a later period during the year.
One of the signatures is also different. They both have the signature of Treasurer Kathryn Elizabeth Granahan, but the 1963-A $2 has the signature of Treasury Secretary Henry Hammill Fowler instead of Treasury Secretary Clarence Douglas Dillon.
The 1963-A $2 bills are not considered particularly rare and notes in good circulated conditions are not valued significantly higher than their face value at around $9. Uncirculated 1963-A $2 bills are worth around $20. However, those with star serial numbers can be worth up to $90. A star note graded at 69 has even been valued at $2,000 at Heritage Auctions.
1963 $2 Bill ”Curse”
There is a popular misconception that the $2 bill brings bad luck or that it is cursed. This superstition is likely linked to the number two and the unpopularity of the deuce in cards. Some people have even ripped off corners of the notes to reverse the curse. However, this makes them inappropriate for circulation.
Throughout its history, the $2 bill has been associated with gambling, election rigging, and prostitutes. The Treasure Department tried to make them popular but eventually gave up and stopped printing the $2 notes in 1966. They remained out of production until they were reissued in 1976 to celebrate 200 years since the signing of the declaration.
However, the negative associations had not disappeared and many Americans refused to use the banknotes and collected them instead. The situation has not been helped by the fact that many vending machines and money-changing machines still will not accept $2 bills.
There are also some subcultures and beliefs that have developed around the $2 bill. For example, pilots from the US Air Force will always carry a $2 bill on them when they fly U-2 spy planes. In reality, the bills are simply real, legal tender and there is no reason to associate bad luck or curses with them.
1963 $2 Bill with a Star Serial Number
As mentioned earlier, $2 bills from 1963 with star serial numbers are usually valued higher than those without stars. Why are stars used on some serial numbers and why does that increase the value of the note?
When you see a star next to the serial number on a note, it means the note is a replacement and not an original note. Replacement notes are equally legal tender and were simply printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) to replace bills that were damaged or flawed during the printing process.
After the sheets of notes are printed, they go through a rigorous inspection process to spot any notes that have flaws or have been damaged during the printing. These damaged notes are discarded and new notes are printed with a star next to the serial number.
The reason the BEP uses a star on the replacement notes is that it allows it to check that the correct number of notes is shipped from the printing facility. Because these notes are not as common as regular notes, they are usually valued higher.
1963 $2 Bill Grading
To standardize the valuing of money, there are some agreed grades used by professional money grading organizations. The professional money grader will consider aspects such as the visibility and sharpness of the printed details, the crispness of the paper, and whether there are signs of wear and tear on the note.
One of the most commonly used grading systems is the Sheldon scale, which rates the notes from one to seventy or from poor to uncirculated in other words. Grade one means the note is in poor condition and will not be worth more than its face value. Grades above 60 are reserved for notes in uncirculated condition.
As an example, if a note has folds or damaged corners, it is likely to be graded in poor or possibly good condition. These notes are unlikely to exceed their face value even if they have a star next to the serial number.
If you are interested in learning more about how professionals grade paper money, you might like this video from The Coin Geek. It focuses on grading paper money from VF (very fine) to AU (almost uncirculated) conditions.
Rare 1963 $2 Error Lists
1963 $2 Bill Denomination Errors
Denomination errors on $2 bills, or any bills, are reasonably rare. When a bill has a denomination error, it may have a wrong denomination printed on one side while the other has the correct denomination. These errors can increase the $2 bill’s value. However, this will depend on its overall condition.
1963 $2 Bill Misprinted Serial Number Error
Errors such as misprinted serial numbers can make $2 bills from 1963 more valuable. Again, the valuation will depend on the overall condition of the note and the severity of the error. Another error that can be spotted in relation to the serial numbers is misalignment which can also increase the bill’s value.
1963 $2 Bill Ink Smear or Overprinting Errors
If your $2 bill from 1963 has smudges or blurred design details, these could be the result of too much ink on the printing plate. While these errors will sometimes make the notes more collectible, they will not always increase the value of the note.
1963 $2 Bill Cutting Errors
Paper money is printed on sheets and sometimes they may be cut incorrectly. For example, they may have uneven or incomplete borders. In severe cases, the cutting error can lead to part of the serial number or design being cut off.
1963 $2 Bill Foldover Errors
A money printing machine does not work that differently from an ordinary printer, which means that sometimes the sheet of paper can get caught in the system and fold over itself. This results in part of the design being printed on the wrong side of the note.
Because the paper notes go through a careful quality control process after printing, errors are usually spotted before the money is shipped out. As a result error notes are not likely to end up in circulation.
1963 $2 Bill Frequently Asked Questions
How much are red Seal $2 bills worth?
The valuation of $2 bills with red seals depends on many factors. These factors include the year the note was printed, the condition of the note, its rarity, and whether it is a star note or not among other factors.
Valuations on $2 bills are conducted by professional coin grading services and anyone interested in knowing the value of their old $2 red seal bills can use these services. However, these services can be expensive, so it is recommended that you do some investigation into their potential value yourself first using online guides and videos.
How do I know if my $2 dollar bill is worth anything?
Your $2 bill may be worth more than its face value if it is in an uncirculated condition or has an error that makes it more desirable for collectors. This means it is still crisp, the ink is not faded and there is no, or only very minimal, wear and there to the note.
While you can investigate the value yourself using the information on the internet or books, the only way to get an accurate valuation of a $2 bill, or any old notes and coins, is to use a professional money grading service.