Famed “Del Monte” Error Note Offered Jan. 22 in Heritage Currency Sale

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The Del Monte Note
"The Del Monte Note" Obstructed Printing Error with Retained Obstruction. The 1996 $20 Federal Reserve Note from St. Louis is graded PMG 64 Choice Uncirculated EPQ with a notation of Obstructed Printing Error with Retained Obstruction due to the Del Monte Ecuador-branded banana sticker. (Imaged by Heritage Auctions, HA.com)

When is a banana sticker worth $25,000? When it’s stuck to the front of a $20 bill.

The Del Monte Note
“The Del Monte Note” Obstructed Printing Error with Retained Obstruction. The 1996 $20 Federal Reserve Note from St. Louis is graded PMG 64 Choice Uncirculated EPQ with a notation of Obstructed Printing Error due to the Del Monte Ecuador-branded banana sticker. (Imaged by Heritage Auctions, HA.com.)

Heritage Auctions will offer the famed "Del Monte Note" — what is considered perhaps the most famous of all U.S. obstructed error banknotes — at auction January 22 for the first time since 2006. That’s when the note sold for $25,300 to a collector who fell in love with the $20 bill’s backstory.

The obstruction caused a sensation among collectors of U.S. currency when it was discovered by an Ohio college student in the summer of 2004. The student received it as part of an ATM withdrawal and shortly thereafter posted it on eBay where it sold to the highest of 12 bids. Banknote collectors proclaimed the note a bargain when it sold at around $10,000 on eBay, as news of the note had barely hit the collecting community.

"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."

This 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  taking place live on HA.com.

About Heritage Auctions

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

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