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Press Release - November 14, 2005

When is a Del Monte Banana Sticker Worth $20,000?

DALLAS, TEXAS: Heritage Currency Auctions of America (H CAA) will offer the famed "Del Monte Note" in their upcoming Signature Auction, to be held January 6 & 7, 2006 in conjunction with the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Convention in Orlando, Florida.

"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."

"Everyone with an interest in currency collecting knows about this note and it is often brought up in conversation," said Johnston. "It is truly a pleasure to see it back in the marketplace stirring up interest in collecting and turning heads everywhere, even of those individuals who do not have a particular interest in currency collecting. This error is as fun today as it was the day it was discovered by an Ohio resident in his ATM withdrawal."

The "Del Monte Note", which is part of The Scottsdale Collection is estimated at $20,000- $25,000. Other featured collections in the H CAA FUN Signature Auction include, The Bill Gale Collection of Kentucky Large Size Nationals, The Midwest Collection of Small Size Type Notes, and The California Proof and Specimen Collection.

Images, descriptions, and prices realized from all previous Heritage auctions, are available in the Permanent Auction Archives at the Heritage website.

To purchase a catalog for any Heritage auction, please contact Nicole Jewell at Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers, 3500 Maple Avenue, 17th Floor, Dallas, TX, 75219.

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