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Coming Soon: A New Batch of $2 Bills

September 13, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The feisty $2 bill, which has been around since the Founding Fathers controlled the nation’s purse strings, is making yet another comeback.

Despite its longevity, the $2 bill has never been particularly popular except at horse track betting windows _ $2 being the standard minimum bet. Indeed, the notes were discontinued in 1965 because of low public demand.

But a series came out in 1976 in honor of the Bicentennial, and the last batch of those was printed in 1979.

Now, at the request of the Federal Reserve, the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing has printed 102 million $2 bills since July because of low supplies. The Fed, responsible for circulating U.S. currency, plans to begin distributing them within a few months.

Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin introduced the new series Friday. The bills bear his signature and that of Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow, replacing those of Carter administration Treasury Secretary William E. Simon and Treasurer Francine I. Neff.

Except for the signatures, the bills are unchanged from 1976. They bear a detailed engraving of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the back and Thomas Jefferson’s portrait on the front.

The $2 bill has been a denomination of U.S. currency since 1776, when 49,000 notes were issued by the Continental Congress as ``bills of credit for the defense of America.″

It subsequently appeared in various forms _ oversized U.S. notes, silver certificates, Treasury notes and national currency using a number of different portraits, including George Washington and former Treasury secretaries Alexander Hamilton and William Windom.

Jefferson’s portrait has appeared on the face of the bills since 1928. That series featured a picture of Monticello, the home of the nation’s third president, on the reverse. The engraving of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, another piece of Jefferson’s handiwork, replaced Monticello in 1976.

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