Apparently, the current irrelevance of the $2 bill is a product of both inflation and the denominations’ seedy reputation. I thought it was because cash registers did not have enough drawers to accommodate them (slots for $1, $5, $10 and $20, $50 and $100’s go underneath).
I have to admit as a history buff, I was unaware of the history of the bill.
When the U.S. government began printing paper money in 1862, $2 was worth the equivalent of $60 today, so having a $1 note and a $2 note made sense. Later on, it just didn’t. But the “Tom” (so-called because Thomas Jefferson is printed on the front) was never very popular.
Historically, the bill was frequently used to pay for the services of sex workers, leading to people calling it a “whore note” in the 1920s. Also: Race tracks of the ‘30s had $2 bet windows, and would pay out in $2 bills, so if you had a wallet full of “Dirty Toms,” you might be mistaken for a ne’er-do-well.
The bill’s vague association with the underworld continues to this day, as it is often used in strip club to double the monetary value of anyone making it rain, and by some gun rights’ activists to signal their support for the second amendment.
Ah, the silliness of it all. In 1976 my paternal grandmother gave me my first one for the Bicentennial.