$2 Bill: the Passion, the Facts

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on July 21, 2016 · 0 comments

in Alumni Life, Management

Christopher Noe uses $2 bills for personal and professional reasons.

Christopher Noe uses $2 bills for personal and professional reasons.

Do you have a $2 bill in your wallet? Apparently quite a few people do and many have family history or personal stories attached.

Christopher Noe, a senior lecturer at the Sloan School of Management, regularly pulls his handy $2 bill from his wallet, a prop he has used for many years to illustrate the concept of fair value accounting. When he pulled that bill out a couple of years ago, he found that a dozen students in his course also had $2 bills with them.

Now you can do your own deep dive into $2 bill fact and folklore when The Two Dollar Bill Documentary, produced by filmmaker John Bennardo, premieres August 4 at the Kendall Square Cinema.

Erik Mintz MBA ’13, who was inspired to further research the $2 bill after taking Noe’s class as part of his MIT Executive MBA program, is helping to promote the film.

Mintz, who also collects $2 bills, was intrigued that day and spent a year researching the currency, according to a Sloan article. He wrote his own article that piqued Bennardo’s interest and led to Mintz’s role in the documentary. Now an associate producer of the film, Mintz introduced Bennardo and Noe. “It’s somewhat surreal,” Mintz said. “I got deeply involved in the movie.”  Learn about Mintz’s survey of $2 bill owners.

In 2014, Bennardo filmed Noe giving his lecture where he asks what the $2 bill is worth. It’s a topic that always results in an interesting class debate, Noe said. Typically, a student might answer—correctly—that the bill is worth $2. Noe will agree, but points out that his 1976 bill is nearly 40 years old.

Although Noe’s 40-year-old bill is, of course, worth $2 in cash—it’s worth more as a collectable—$8 in fact.

So what is the value of a $2 bill? There is no simple answer, Noe says, but it illustrates the distinction between historical cost ($2) and fair value accounting ($8).

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