Series of 1896 $2 Silver Certificate – Educational Note
History: There is nothing especially rare, unique, or noteworthy about the 1896 $2 silver certificate. Millions were printed and hundreds are still known to exist. This issue was one of four different design types used for the large size two dollar silver certificate. It is interesting to note that when United States money was converted to its current size that the $2 silver certificate was discontinued (even though one, five, and ten dollar silver certificates were still printed). The note we are looking at here is fairly popular. It is a one year design type, meaning if you want a note that looks like this you have to buy an example from 1896. There are no similar series ever made before or after.
Nickname: Most collectors call an 1896 $2 silver certificate a “two dollar ed.” The “ed” part of the nickname refers to the fact that the note is part of the educational series. On rare occasions you might hear this called a Fulton note or a Morse note, which is of course in reference to the portraits of Robert Fulton and Samuel Morse which are on the back of the 1896 $2 bill. However, two dollar ed is certainly the preferred name of choice.
Other Facts: The full name of the 1896 $2 silver certificate at the time it was being produced in Washington DC was Allegory of Science presenting steam and electricity to commerce and manufacture. This is depicted with three women and two children. Each of the three educational notes ($1, $2, and $5) had something to do with scientific achievements or historical achievements. Generally speaking, the 1896 $2 bill has a red seal with dark blue serial number. Each serial number begins and ends with a little three pronged symbol. No star notes were issued for this series. There are lots of low serial number notes available. Low serial numbers do not command huge premiums on $2 bills that are already uncirculated.
Values and Grading: 1896 $2 silver certificates are actually fairly rare. There are plenty of examples available, but not as many as you might think for a low denomination mass produced item. There were just two signatures used for this note. Your bill will either be signed by Tillman and Morgan or Bruce and Roberts. Each is equally rare. Values range from something as little as $200 for a note in poor condition to $10,000 for a note in perfect condition. It is very important to understand how condition affects the value of a bill. Our pictures and descriptions below should help you grade and value your specific bank note.
Choice Uncirculated or Better: Centering is extremely important when you are dealing with 1896 $2 silver certificates. They have unusually large back and front margins. This allows for really high grades on occasion. If something has perfectly square margins then it is referred to as having boardwalk margins. 1896 $2 silver certificates in a grade of 64 might sell for $7,500. If you can get a higher grade then it doesn’t take much until we are talking about very low five figure valuations. Lots of high grade 1896 two dollar bills are known to exist. They are not difficult to locate, you just have to have the check book in order to buy one.
Extremely Fine to About Uncirculated: The XF 40 to AU 58 grade has always been a favorite of advanced collectors who are looking for an attractive note like the 1896 $2 bill, but who also don’t want to spend $10,000. Something in this grade range can sell for as little as $2,500 or as much as $4,500 (that would be a grade of 40 compared to a 58). Collectors are really looking for something with original bright white paper. The only allowable imperfections here would be a fold or two and just generic handling that you would associate with a piece of money from the late 1800s.
Fine to Very Fine: Lots of very attractive 1896 $2 silver certificates can be purchased in this grade range. Obviously something that is graded as a 35 will be much more attractive than something graded as a 12 – and prices certainly reflect that. A choice VF note might cost $2,000, while one can buy the same note in fine condition pretty much whenever for around $600. The big difference between the two grades comes down to paper quality and crispness.
Very Good and Lower: There are a bunch of low grade 1896 $2 bills floating around in today’s market. This is a case where sometimes cheap is not cheap enough. Anything with tape, stains, rust, splits, writing, ink, missing pieces, soiling, foxing, or other damage or problems should typically be avoided. It is possible to find fully intact and problem free 1896 $2 silver certificates in this grade, but it take a little bit of work. Notes that are heavily circulated, as seen below, are worth a couple hundred dollars; and they are not always easy to sell.
Need an Appraisal or Offer? There is a lot of demand for any 1896 $2 silver certificate. So if you have one available, please let us know. We are paying very competitive prices and we would love a chance to see what you have and make our best offer. Just send us an email with scans or digital photos. Sales@AntiqueMoney.com