This window display, if you could call it that, struck me as a little risky. It’s enough money to at least tempt someone into busting the window and stealing what they could. Or maybe the glass is bulletproof.

Window Decorated With Mostly Two-Dollar Bills, in Bensonhurst

That picture is from March, 2018. I wouldn’t remember the exact storefront where I spotted these bills but GPS pins them at 61st Street and 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. That sounds about right, based on my recollection of that little excursion. I was, of course, payphone hunting, and this time found so many phones it got monotonous. I know not the payphone population of that area now.

I still have a couple of two-dollar bills I got in high school. I went to a bank for the only purpose of procuring $20 worth of two-dollar bills. They had been in circulation for a number of years but never lost their novelty status. They remain legal tender, though using them has been known to cause problems among store managers or cashiers who fail to recognize them as legal.

I procured the bills having heard that store owners confused them with twenty dollar bills, and made change accordingly. So if you bought a $1 item with a $2 bill an unobservant cashier might hand you $19 in change. I wanted to get in on this little scam but it never worked for me, and I came to suspect the anecdote’s legitimacy.

The back of the bill depicts the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Until today I maintained a lingering question about that image, which I never got around to investigating, and which serves to illustrate my less-than-comprehensive knowledge of American history: Was an African-American present at the signing? If so was this him, at the center of this cropped outtake from the back of the bill?

Was an African-American Present at the Signing of the Declaration of Independence?

If I read the U.S. Government’s Key to the Painting correctly that person appears to be Robert Morris who, like everyone else in the room, was not black. Still, to my eyes, the imprint of that painting on the two-dollar bill sure makes it look like he was. Whatever the case, I finally have closure on a decades-old question.

And also, TIL: There is a full-length documentary about the humble two-dollar bill. I have not seen it but YouTube comments make it look promising.