banana bill detail By Russ and Tiña De Maris Critics both outside and inside the United States have plenty to say about the country. Recently, more than one disparager has described the U.S. as “acting like a banana republic*.” Could it be due to a genuine U.S. $20 bill with a banana sticker that came out of a Texas U.S. Treasury printing plant? Sound like one of those great internet fakes? Nope, it actually happened – and it’s proved to send “bill collectors” bananas. Start of an appealing story All photos, currency.ha.com Here’s the background. A college kid in Ohio poked his ATM card in a cash machine. What popped out of the cash dispenser was a $20 bill – with a Del Monte sticker on it. Was it a fruity idea from the produce company advertising department? Not at all. And no, it wasn’t just some nut that stuck a banana sticker on an existing bank note and let it loose on an unsuspecting public. The bill has been authenticated, and apparently what happened is this. In 1996 in an obscure Texas facility, a run of $20 bills had made it through the first stage of printing. It’s in this process that the back is printed. Two subsequent stages follow. The front of the bill is printed, then in a third stage, serial numbers and the Treasury seal make it onto the bills. Somewhere in the middle of this process, after the front of the bill was printed, […]