What’s in a Name? The $2 “Lazy Deuce” 

One of the most iconic and popular notes ever put to print by the federal government, the “Lazy Deuce” has long been a staple of collector want lists. In fact, it was ranked in the #4 position by Q. David Bowers and David M. Sundman in their book 100 Greatest American Currency Notes.

Derived from the unusual horizontal position of the numerical two counter on the face, the “Lazy Deuce” is a striking issue reflecting an aesthetic fusion of early federal issues and the obsolete state-issued notes of the Antebellum Period. Situated to the left of the eponymous “Lazy Deuce” is an allegorical figure, likely Columbia or Liberty, holding an American flag amidst a coastal scene with a merchant vessel in the background.

The reverse features a scene associated with the new world or from early American history in which Sir Walter Raleigh is with a pipe of tobacco. A rendition of a state seal from the issuing state is present at left, a vignette of an eagle is at right.

From 1865 through 1879 a total of 7,747,519 notes of the type were shipped to banks across the country including the far-flung western territories of Colorado and New Mexico.

Today just under 2,300 notes are enumerated by the National Bank Note Census, a figure that drives strong prices from collectors even in heavily circulated grades. The bulk of known examples are of the Original Series, while a minority are of the Series of 1875. Among these, issues in high grades or those from scarce locations such as territorial banks or the American South are among the most desirable, while those from states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, or Massachusetts are the most readily available for collectors.

To consign your numismatic items to one of our upcoming auctions, please call 800-458-4646 or email

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