Young Pioneer Tours

Lucky $2 Dollar Bills in North Korea

The $2 bill has been around for a long time. The very first version of the bill being released in 1862 and updated throughout the years with the most recent edition of 2017. The notes aren’t as massively produced as the $1 or $5 bill, for example, which adds more of a rarity to its collection.

For those who haven’t seen the bill, it has a portrait of Thomas Jefferson (third president of the US) and, on the other, the painting of the Declaration of Independence being signed by John Trumbull.

My first encounter with a $2 bill was in Vietnam back in 2013 when they released the 2013 edition, and the $2 note was sold for $15 on the market. The locals would use this bill during Lunar New Year celebrations to be presented to friends or family in a lucky red envelope for good fortune. I had received my first one from a close friend and still carry it in my wallet, being the superstitious guy that I am. Since then, my encounters with the note have been extremely low.

However, something I’ve noticed over the past few years working in North Korea in the travel business is the increase of the $2 USD bills being used within the country. Mostly in Pyongyang.

Now to the North Koreans, the $2 bill isn’t considered a lucky note, unlike its neighbors, so the North Koreans are quite happy to dish this out as change within various restaurants and hotels within the capital since you can’t openly use or spend North Korean Won within Pyongyang. So when you’re buying items or services in North Korea with foreign currency, you’ll receive foreign currency back as change. This is the norm in the DPRK.

Next time you’re out there looking for this lucky $2 note, join us on tour to North Korea as your chances of running into this note are far higher than actually being in the US.

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