Uncommon “Del Monte Note” Coming to Auction Jan. 22

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Every once in a while, a few common things come together in an uncommon way, and the results may be unexpected. Such is the case involving a banana sticker, a $20 bill, and an upcoming sale through Heritage Auctions. 

The uncommon and unexpected is a U.S. banknote sporting a banana sticker and a pre-sale estimate of $25,000. The note, famously known as the “Del Monte Note,” is considered an obstructed error note. It’s been 15 years since this popular and peculiar banknote crossed the auction block. The last time at auction, it sold for $25,300. 

As explained by Heritage Auctions in a recent press release, the obstruction caused a sensation among collectors of U.S. currency when an Ohio college student discovered it in the summer of 2004. The student received it as part of an ATM withdrawal and in short order, sold it on eBay for $10,000. 

“Collectors immediately fell in love with it,” said Dustin Johnston, Vice President of Currency Auctions at Heritage Auctions. “The placement of the ‘Del Monte Ecuador’ banana sticker is ideal because it covers part of the printing details and is overlaid by part of the Treasury Seal and the bill’s serial number.”

The “Del Monte Note” isn’t the first U.S. bill to have an obstruction stuck on it during the printing process. Other objects include a Band-Aid, paper fragments, tape and wood shavings. “The objects we see that obstruct ink in the printing process include mostly debris from the printing floor. This debris rarely stays affixed to the notes, and this is no debris; it is a foreign object that should have never made it onto the printing floor,” Johnston said.

The “Del Monte Note” crosses the auction block after 6 p.m., January 22, as part of Heritage Auctions’ U.S. Currency Auction. Visit www.ha.com to learn more, register to bid in the auction, and to watch the auction.  

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