Whenever we talked about antique and vintage money, we exclusively talked about coins. However, not all valuable money is minted, some are stamped as well. In fact, in certain cases, bills are worth much more than their face value. Some rare examples can be worth thousands of dollars.
If you are more interested in paper money than in coins, you are in the right place. In the following rows, you will get an opportunity to learn a bit more about the very sought-after paper bill among numismatics.
Here comes a comprehensive guide that will walk you through the value of a 1963 2 dollar bill, also known as a Red Seal.
Short History Of Red Seal 2 Dollar Bill
The first confederate 2 dollar bill was stamped in 1862, in fact, their production was started during the Civil War and it lasted for about one hundred years. This makes them one of the longest-produced banknotes, besides the dollar that was produced by the Federal Reserve.
However, what is interesting about these bills is that they were direct obligations by the US government and that anyone who had them owned a piece of the national debt. From the start, these strange currency denominations had a hard time coming through on the market.
Considering the lack of demand for it, in the period from 1970 until 1975 these bills weren’t even stamped. They were officially removed from production as legal tender in the mid-’90s, but they are still spendable currency. Today’s situation is a bit different.
The 2-dollar bills became the rarest money that was produced in the US. This very rare bill is sought-after since they make less than 0.001% of all currency denominations in circulation.
In fact, only about 1.2 billion 2-dollar bills are in circulation currently, which is not a lot even if that sounds like a lot to you. The best example to prove this is the fact that there are around 12 billion 1-dollar bills in circulation.
What makes the 1963 2-dollar bill so desirable?
What contributes to the rarity and variability of a 2 dollar bill is the fact that it features a red seal which makes it look different from the standard green seal federal reserve or blue seal silver certificate banknotes. There are only three bank notes that carry a red seal those are:
- 1928 2-dollar note;
- 1953 2-dollar note;
- 1963 2-dollar note.
The 1963 bill is valuable particularly because this was the last year that the red seal was featured on a 2-dollar banknote. Also, this was the last series where Jefferson’s Monticello residence was stamped on the US paper currency.
Before we start talking more about the value of the 1963 2-dollar bill you need to know that there are two different series of this banknote – 1963 and 1963A, as well as two different varieties. One variety features a star in front of a serial number while another variety doesn’t.
What’s the difference between the 1963 2-dollar bill and the 1963A 2-dollar bill?
These two bills are very similar and the only difference between them is how they are printed. You should know that the 1963 bill was printed using the intaglio printing process, while the 1963A bills were printed using the offset printing process.
Since the intaglio printing process is more expensive and time-consuming these 2-dollar bills are more valuable and sought-after. Typically, you will get $20 for an uncirculated 1963 2-dollar bill with a red seal. On the other hand, an uncirculated 1963A 2-dollar bill with a star will cost you$90!
Value Of 1963 2 Dollar Bill Price Guide
As I said many people are not so familiar with the rarity and collectible potential of two-dollar bills. Most of them are not extremely rare and do not carry a high value, but some series of the 2-dollar bills can be considered as a premium catch. One of those bills is the one we are talking about in this article.
Since I mentioned that there are two different series and varieties of this rare banknote it is only natural that their price tags are different as well. What you need to remember is that star notes are much more valuable and expensive.
A star note is the same as a regular 1963 $2 bill, the only difference is that it features a symbol of a star in front of the serial number. But why? A Star Note is a banknote minted with the purpose to replace a defective note that is currently in circulation. These Star Notes are used to ensure that the correct amount of currency is created and that there will be no over-minting problems.
These replacement star notes can be easily recognized since they are marked with a star that is placed adjacent to the serial number where the prefix (first letter) of the serial number would be.
Also, in the past star notes were used to label the 100,000,000th note in a series, however, this isn’t a common practice anymore. I’m saying this so you remember these small details since they are a great indicator of value.
The number of star notes produced per series depends on the number of defective bills that need to be replaced. So how valuable a star note is? The answer is very much, keep in mind that the smallest run sizes produce the rarest, and potentially most valuable star notes.
List of the most valuable 1963 $2 red seal bills
These 1963 $2 red seal bills are all issued in 1963. All of them feature a portrait of President Thomas Jefferson on the face side, and the engraving of Jefferson’s Virginia home, Monticello, on the backside. Some of these notes are in crisp and uncirculated condition while others were in use.
How are banknotes graded?
Since banknotes are made from paper they are very easily damaged, folded, or scuffed which can significantly diminish their potential value. That is the main reason why numismatics invented a grade chart. Here is what you need to know before you grade your bills.
- Fair or poor – These are bills from circulation that show lots of wear and tear, folds, rips, and large pieces missing (mainly corners). These bills have only a face value.
- Good – Also bills from circulation but with fewer damages, folds, smaller tears, and pieces missing. Can earn you some extra cash besides the face value.
- Very good – Banknotes used in circulation, but remained in great condition. These will have small tears and will appear very worn but without any significant damage.
- Fine – Circulated banknotes without any tears, only have some small and fine folds. The color is usually faded from usage.
- Very fine – These banknotes are whole, dirty with wrinkling and folds. The coloring is bright and there will be some small signs of usage.
- Extremely fine – The bills are sturdy and crisper under the fingers but still show minor signs of handling. These include pinches, folds, and smudges.
- About uncirculated – These bills are almost uncirculated, meaning they were in circulation for a very short time. They will have no signs of handling and no more than 2 folds and corner folds. If there is some discoloration that isn’t AU grade.
- Choice uncirculated – If you come across a banknote that is graded as CU there will be no folds, maybe only a minor corner fold. With signs of minor handling.
- Gem uncirculated – These bills are fresh from the mint. There are no flaws, no folds, and no signs of handling. Only top-rated banknotes will have perfectly centered images.
What Determines How Much A 1963 $2 Red Seal Bill Worths?
A lot of collectors are constantly on the hunt for $2 bills since they are extremely rare no matter the year of mintage. By now I’m sure most of you learned that rarity doesn’t always mean increased value.
Just like with rare coin values, there are some crucial factors that are important in determining the real value. Pay attention to the following:
- Condition – You’ve seen the grading chart in the previous paragraph, so I’m sure you understand how the condition impacts the worth. The significant wear signs will negatively impact the price no matter how rare your banknote is.
- Age of mintage – Older $2 bills are more valuable than newer ones, that is straight logic.
- Serial number – You should know that different serial numbers have a different values. Some are more valuable, for example, earlier serial numbers.
- Errors and misprints – Like with coins banknotes can be produced with certain errors and misprints. These include seals that are doubled or not placed properly. Bills with these errors are extremely rare and valuable.
Which 1963 $2 red seal bills are most valuable?
Some bills have special symbols, patterns, or serial numbers printed on them so they may be worth more. Look for the following details to indicate the real value of your 1963 $2 bill:
- Star symbol – I will repeat this once again if your 1963 or 1963A bill features a star symbol this is a replacement banknote. They are pretty rare and valuable.
- Palindromes – Those are all serial numbers that read the same whether you look at them backward or forwards. They are also called radar notes.
- Repeated numbers – In some cases serial number repeats. Those bills are very rare and valuable.
Where Should One Look For 1963 $2 Red Seal Bill?
Since $2 bills are very rare but still used in circulation the chance you come across them in your change is low but never non-existent. If you want to collect rare and valuable $2 bills your options are very limited.
The first stop should always be some specialized numismatic shop nearby where you can get all the necessary information in case they don’t have what you need. There are a lot of online forums and collecting communities where you can seek answers and help.
The second option is to check online. Websites like eBay, Etsy, and LiveAuctioneers are always good choices when it comes to selling and buying collectible currencies. You can also visit numismatic shows, museums, and auctions to see if you have any luck. The point is that 1963 $2 bills are very rare and the “hunt” for them can take some time.
In case you want to purchase newer date $2 bills you can do that in a bank. However, they rarely have older dates on hand.
Is the 1963 $2 bill only series of Red Seal bills?
No, there are plenty of other denominations printed as Red Seal Notes. These are also known as Legal Tender Notes, and they are the longest-lived of all US Currencies. Legal Tender Notes all have red seals and have been issued in $1, $2, $5, and $100. For some reason, denominations like $10 and $20 are also printed but never issued.
Here is the list of red seal notes:
- $1 red seal note – 1928;
- $2 red seal note – 1928, 1928 A through G, 1953, 1953 A through C, 1963, and 1963 A;
- $5 red seal notes – 1928, 1928 A through F, 1953, 1953 A through C, and 1963;
- $100 red seal notes – 1966 and 1966 A.
When was the first $2 bill printed?
Believe it or not but the first $2 bill ever issued in the US was during the Colonial period and it was printed on November 29th, 1775. However, colonial paper money was replaced with confederate paper money in 1862.
These first confederate $2 bills printed in Richmond, Virginia are very valuable and can reach up to $50,000!
Why are $2 bills so rare and valuable?
As I said $2 bills were issued in some very challenging times for the American people. At that moment most Americans were earning less than $15 per month. That means that a $2 bill was large money for that time.
Even after inflation began to drop, people still preferred to use coins and $1 bills. Most of the services and goods at that time cost less than a dollar so using paper money was very impractical so they did not print them in larger quantities.
When it comes to collecting paper money you should obviously pay a lot more attention to the physical condition of the item, compared to the coins for instance. The red seal notes do have some value, but that value is hidden in the details.
If you plan to invest some money in collectible $2 bills make sure you know how to indicate a rare note. You must be familiar with fine details such as serial numbers, plate numbers, symbols, and origination banks.
Collecting and searching for these items is a bit more complicated, but it pays off. Before you decide this is the right kind of adventure for you make sure you read as much as you can to get into the matter.
In case you have a $2 bill that you don’t know how to evaluate, my kind advice is to take it for appraisal to your nearest money expert and see if you can turn your pocket change into a fortune.