Featured in the upcoming January 2021 FUN Currency Signature Auction #3581
Obstructed Printing Error with Retained Obstruction Fr. 2084-H $20 1996 Federal Reserve Note. PMG Choice Uncirculated 64 EPQ.
This highly unusual and colorful error note is commonly referred to by collectors in the numismatic fraternity as "The Del Monte Note," simply because of the retained printed over "Del Monte Ecuador" banana sticker obstruction. Most obstructions fall off shortly after printing, leaving behind a blank area of paper lacking the design, but errors with objects that "stick" to the note and enter circulation are very rare. A few objects seen on other obstruction errors include a band-aid, paper fragments, scotch tape, and wood shavings. United States paper money is essentially printed in three stages: the first printing is the back of the note, the second printing provides the face devices, and the final printing includes both seals and the serial numbers. When this note was printed at the Fort Worth Western Currency Facility, it went through the first and second printings normally before the Del Monte 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 the right serial number from the third printing.
Most would conjecture that this error note was no accident and probably the result of some very bored or creative BEP employee. Its presence in the market place however is not dubious, as it passed through the regular channels of the Federal Reserve before it was released into circulation. In the summer of 2004, a college student in Ohio received it as part of an ATM withdrawal and shortly there after posted it on eBay where it sold to the highest of 12 bids. The note was a bargain at around $10,000 on eBay as news of the note had barely hit the collecting community. In subsequent weeks, it was the cover story in both Bank Note Reporter and Numismatic News. Then in 2006, we offered the piece in our FUN Auction, where it topped $25,000. Since then it has earned a spot on the cover of, US Error Note Encyclopedia second edition by Stephen M. Sullivan. This fabled error is now looking for a new home, but it will take serious consideration and a very strong bid to bring one of the greatest paper money errors home.