Discover Vintage America - July 2014

Sometimes a two-dollar bill is merely a two-dollar bill

Q: What is the value of a 1963 series red seal two-dollar bill? I heard that the same bill with the serial number A06351047A is worth $5,000 USD. Is my $2 bill worth that much?

A: I get asked this question time and time again so it must have some general interest.

The $2 bill was first commissioned in 1862 it was discontinued from 1966 to 1976 when use of the two-dollar bill was resumed as part of the United States bicentennial celebration. The two-dollar bill is still being printed. The value of an uncirculated $2 bill is around $5 and circulated bills are worth only face value. The "star series" do have a bit more value with uncirculated bills selling for $10-$15 and circulated bills for $5.
Fun Fact – Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computing, buys two-dollar bills by the sheet from the Treasury Department. He then has them bound into book format and the bills act as "tear off" pages. I promise to let you know if I ever find reliable information on the $5,000 $2 bill.


Luminart TV lamp

Q: I found this wonderful old lamp at a garage sale. It has a paper label on the base that says "Luminart." Can you tell me anything about it and how much it is worth? Thank you.

A: You have a mid-century TV lamp made by Luminart Lampshades Products Inc. It is difficult to make out all the details on the lamp, such as the fish, but the name of this design is "Under the Sea." You don't often see a Luminart lamp with its original paper or foil label simply because the glue dissolves over time and they fall off or were removed when purchased so these lamps often go unattributed.

The company was founded in New York City in the 1920s by Julius "Juddy" Traum as the "Deco Lampshade Co." the name was then changed to "Luminart Lampshades Products Inc." and finally Sheridan China by Luminart" in the 1950s. The company remained in operation until around 1975.
The TV lamps were designed by Martin Deutsch, who went by the name "Marti of Hollywood". Mr. Deutsch is also well known for designing head vases. TV lamps are a hot collecting genre and come in a wide variety of shapes and styles.The more ornate and outlandish the higher the price.
Your beautiful Luminart TV lamp from the late 1940s to early 1950s would sell for $65-$75 as long as it does not have any chips or cracks.


Note: All prices given are for sale in a private sale, antique shop or other resale outlet. Price is also dependent upon the geographic area in which you are selling. Auction value, selling to a dealer or pawnshop prices are about half or less of resale value.

Michelle Staley is a Lenexa, KS-based dealer and researcher with 35 years of experience in the antique trade. Send questions with photos to Michelle to Please keep queries to one question; questions without photos of the item may not be answered. Michelle is also available for consulting and extensive research work beyond this column. If you would like an appraisal on an antique or collectible please go to for a one on one appraisal.