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When is a Del Monte Banana Sticker Worth $25,280?

When it’s stuck to a $20 bill. That doesn’t mean you can go and stick a banana sticker on any old $20 bill and earn yourself $20 grand auctioning it.

The reason this banana sticker so special is because the sticker somehow found it’s way onto the bill during the printing process.

US currency is printed in three stages: first back of the note is printed, the face devices follow, finally comes the Treasury Seal and the serial numbers.


What makes this sticker unique is when it found it’s way onto the note. Somehow the banana sticker found it’s way onto the surface of the note after the first and second stages, but before the final stage. That’s why it covers everything but the seal and serial number.

I’m curious though. Has anyone ever peeled the sticker off to see whether the seal and serial number are authentic?

I mean, isn’t it possible to stick a fruit sticker on the note then pen or paint on a fake seal and serial number?

You never know… anyhow, this note was auctioned by Heritage Currency Auctions of America (www.HeritageGalleries.com) " , held January 6 & 7, 2006 in Dallas, Texas for US$ 25.280 !!!!


The story

"There are few items that create an indelible memory like this unique U.S. Currency error," said Dustin Johnston, Director of Auctions for H CAA. "This error note really appears to be more of a publicity stunt by a company's fruity advertising department than it is a coincidence. The object is a simple sticker, one that is commonly seen on nearly every bunch of Bananas that makes its way to a grocery's produce section in the U.S. - a banana sticker with the Del Monte logo."

"This colorful error is commonly referred by those in the collecting fraternity as 'The Del Monte Note,' and the story about how this sticker got on this 1996 $20 Federal Reserve Note is as exotic as the Ecuadorian Banana sticker itself. The error is referred to as a 'retained obstruction,' or a note that was printed with a foreign object on the paper. Most obstructions fall off shortly after printing leaving a blank area of paper missing the design, but errors with objects that 'stick' to the note are very rare. Objects seen on other obstruction errors include a Band-Aid, paper fragments, scotch tape, and wood shavings."

"What makes this note truly special," Johnston continued, "is the stage of the printing process at which the sticker affixed itself to the note. United States Currency is essentially printed in three stages: the first printing is the back of the note, the second printing provides the face devices, and the third, final printing includes the Treasury Seal and the serial numbers. When this note was printed at the Fort Worth facility of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, it went through first and second printings before the sticker found its way onto the surface. The sticker's placement is ideal, as it covers part of the second printing details and is overlaid by part of the Treasury Seal and serial number from the third printing."


The History of the famous Del Monte Note™

The story should have started and ended at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Fort Worth, Texas by an employee realizing that he or she lost the sticker from their banana peel.

However, it didn't. The twenty dollar bill went through the entire Bureau of Engraving and Printing inspection check points until it finally found itself sitting in an ATM Machine somewhere in the state of Ohio.

There, a young college student retrieved it and immediately realized he had a $20.00 bill worth more than face value.

No one knows what steps he took to market his new find, but it is verified that he found E-bay as a profitable outlet.

He listed it for auction and it caught the eye of a collector from Phoenix, Arizona by the name of Daniel Wishnatsky. He won the bid for $10,100.00 in the year 2003.

Not a bad profit for going to the ATM! Daniel Wishnatsky is a member of the Society of Paper Money Collectors. He felt the Del Monte Note™ should bring two to three times that amount.

He was on the money. January, 2006 he placed the famous bill for auction with the notable Heritage Galleries.

In a small town outside of Fort Worth, Texas Jackie Morales was enjoying his usual breakfast of biscuits and gravy at a fast food restaurant when he read about the twenty dollar bill worth over $10,000.00. Like Mr. Wishnatsky he too thought it was worth two or three times more.

Jackie went back to his business, Texas RV Center Inc., and spoke with his wife Bethany. They both agreed that the Del Monte Note™ would be a wise investment.

$25,300.00 later the happy Morales couple claimed it as theirs.

The $20.00 Banana Note made it from Fort Worth to Ohio to Arizona to Cleburne, Texas.

Cleburne, Texas is only 30 miles from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It gained a $25,280.00 value along the way.

When the Moraleses were asked what their plans for the Del Monte Note™ were, Bethany replied, "It's an investment. We would of course sell it if the right offer came up but in the meantime we are going to enjoy owning the only one in existence".