The Most Expensive Currency Error Ever

The most expensive error banknote is the “Del Monte banknote,” a $20 bill that sold for $396,000 at Heritage Auctions on January 22, 2021. The note acquired its unique name after a Del Monte fruit sticker got stuck to it during the printing process. Error banknotes are those that make it into circulation with a printing error of some kind. The Del Monte banknote is an extremely rare type of error called a “retained obstruction” in which a foreign object — in this case the fruit sticker — is affixed to the paper during the printing process and remains attached to the note after it has entered circulation. The Del Monte banknote was printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility in Fort Worth, Texas. Bills printed there go through three stages of printing, and it seems that the Del Monte sticker was placed on the note between the second and third stages of the process, indicated by the fact that it sits over part of the word “Twenty” but under the serial number and U.S. Treasury seal. Experts believe the sticker was likely placed there deliberately by a bored employee. The note was found by a college student in Ohio, who got it from an ATM in 2003. He sold it on eBay for $10,000 and it has been resold several times since then.