The Nefarious Past of the Two-Dollar Bill

The $2 has a sketchy past. Shortly after Independence, the Federal Reserve started printing money, but only issued coins at first due to Americans’ average salary of $15/month. Soon after the Reserve's predominant use for the “Tom” (nicknamed for Thomas Jefferson’s image) was for gambling, bribes and prostitutes, so the bill got a bad rap. During the United States Bicentennial in 1976, the reserve started to reproduce “Toms,” but made such beautiful bills that people didn’t want to spend them, thinking that they’d increase in value somewhere down the line. Today, the bills still exist, but comprise a fraction of all bills printed by the Federal Reserve. There are even $2 ambassadors, who visit banks to ensure that the “Toms” remain in circulation.


Follow us behind the scenes on Instagram:
Make our acquaintance on Facebook:
Give us a shout on Twitter:
Visit our world directly:

Great Big Story is a video network dedicated to the untold, overlooked & flat-out amazing. Humans are capable of incredible things & we're here to tell their stories. When a rocket lands in your backyard, you get in.