While the $2 bill was in fact discontinued after 1966, it made a comeback 10 years later as a cost-saving measure by the Treasury Department. $2 bills, while still not circulated in numbers even remotely approaching their $1 and $5 cousins, are still printed today. – AJW
End of the road for the $2 bill
Now the $2 bill — the only kind of money that is unpopular — is on the way out.
The Treasury Department announced on August 10 that because of a “lack of public demand,” no more $2 bills will be printed.
Many persons consider the $2 bill unlucky. One possible explanation heard is that some politicians, back in the nineteenth century, paid $2 for votes, and it was said that a man with a “deuce” was suspected of having sold his vote. Another reason for unpopularity: Merchants disliked the bill because there was not special chamber for them in cash registers and clerks sometimes gave them by mistake for $1 bills.
For years, race tracks, where the minimum wager is $2, were the last strongholds of the bill. Superstitious horse players attempted to “beat the whammy” by tearing off a corner of the bill.
The last printing of $2 bills was in May, 1965. Those now in circulation add up to 139.3 million dollars, about one third of 1 percent of total US paper currency. The $2 bills will continue to be circulated as long as the supply lasts. Average life of a $2 bill is about six years. Bills in $1 and $5 denominations wear out in 18 to 20 months. Treasury officials said that they wouldn’t be surprised if the fade-out announcement stirred a demand for the bills as collector’s items.
The first $2 notes were issued in 1776, when 49,000 were printed as “bills of credit for the defense of America.” There was a lapse then until the Civil War. An act of Congress in 1862 has been authority for issuance of $2 bills ever since.