High Notes

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Here We Go Again

Ever since the forcible annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia in 2014 the NBU has banned any currency depicting "illustrated maps, symbols, buildings, monuments, archaeological sites, landmarks, landscapes, or any other objects, situated in the territory of Ukraine occupied by Russia.", and for obvious reasons the NBU has now banned the use of all Russian and Belarusian rubles in Ukraine. This most recent ban took effect on February 24, 2022, the day of the invasion, and was an amendment

I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of [Specimens]!

Well, after a few years of talking about it I finally sent a submission into PMG. I wanted to test the waters first, so I only sent in a batch of 10 specimen notes. Notes that I feel are properly listed in the Standard Catalog of World Paper Money with appropriate Pick #'s and accurate descriptions. Some of the notes would fill holes in my PMG registry set, others don't currently have homes in the registry but hopefully PMG will create them when I request some new sets. We'll see.  I didn't have

I've Been Everywhere Man! (Supplemental, Part 2)

I have yet to figure out the reason for the existence of the "black" prefix and serial numbers on some 1,000 Karbovantsiv notes of 1918-21, and as such I've been collecting data on the subject in the form of additional notes with the "black" prefix and serial number variety/error/damage.  Not that I needed a reason to collect more notes.  In my current mania I've managed to acquire several more examples of this phenomenon and I think I'm starting to lean heavily towards the existence of these be

In The Future To Come...

...will the National Bank of Ukraine stick to it's current product schedule? I've been tracking the NBU product release schedule closely, I always keep an eye on it regardless but more so now, and it has been changing on a monthly basis, even prior to the Invasion. They have been paring the gold issues down since the initial release of the schedule in Nov-Dec of 2021, and now there is no gold commemorative or bullion issues on the latest iteration. Even the silver issues have been cut way b

Leave Out The Fiction. Heck No!

Since the Invasion of Ukraine there have been several fantasy issues released by private entities. The sellers motives aside, some are quite attractive and of high quality with all the typical modern security features, while some are lacking in those areas and were seemingly "Xeroxed" on plain paper. Regardless, I thought it would be interesting to list a few here that caught my eye and see what others thought about them and of thier existence in general. I've posted this one already in the

Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing, Baby (Part 4, The Ultimate Flim-Flam)

"Pop quiz hotshot". How many of these notes are authentic?   Since we covered the 50 Shahiv I thought I'd pull out some of my 40 Shahiv contemporary counterfeits and give them the same treatment. Plus, I'm boooored right now (rainy day here in Michigan) and why not spend some time looking at banknotes! Let's get to the hints.  Front: As always, we're looking for quality, in the artistry/production of the note and the three "S's" sharpness, separation, and spacing are ke

The [Price] Is High But I'm Holdin' On.... Still.

It's been a while since I've last talked about the hammer prices of Ukrainian banknotes, and coins for that matter, both continue to command strong prices at auction. This is due to many factors no doubt, such as inflation, individuals still high on the hog with Covid money or generating additional income due to Covid, the war in Ukraine generating interest and sympathy, along with a collector base/demand in general that has been slowly growing, even prior to any of the previous factors already

Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing, Baby (Part 3, Ignorance Breeds Imitation)

"Pop quiz hotshot". How many of these notes are authentic?   Before you answer I'll give you a couple of hints, areas that I look at when first viewing a 50 Shahiv note. Front: It goes without saying that we are looking for detail, as would be the norm for officially produced notes, and consistency but there are two areas, or design elements, that are typically dead giveaways with these. One is the diamond matrix surrounding the denomination inside of the wreath. The ma

Who Are You! (A Variety?)

Being an avid collector , you first start with types, then the known/standard varieties such as signatures, watermarks, replacements, etc. and when you run out of those you start searching for supplemental material and/or new varieties. That being said, I sat down with my Ukrainian shahiv notes the other day, organizing labeling, studying as one would normally do and while making a determination on whether or not one of my 50 shahiv notes was a contemporary counterfeit and comparing it to a few

I've Been Everywhere Man! (Supplemental, Part 1)

For the first time in quite a while I was able to sit down and spend some time with my collection. With temps in the low 40's yesterday, and a constant drizzle staring me in the face as I looked out the window, it wasn't a difficult decision.  Even though I've not had time to sit down and enjoy my notes that doesn't mean I haven't had time to make a few additions, and I've been busy. More on that later in a future Journal entry.  One of my recent purchases was another Ukrainian 1,000 karbovansti

No, Not Another Souvenir!

On January 17th the National Bank of Ukraine issued the final banknotes commemorating the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's independence. Two commemorative sets were released containing all six denominations with matching serial numbers. The first set comes in a NBU envelope, the notes loose, with an issue limit of 3,000 sets and serial numbers ranging from ЯА0007000 - ЯА0009999. The second is in the form of a hardcover booklet, again, containing one commemorative note of each denomination with matc

I've Been Everywhere, Man! (Part 2)

With three different production sites, dwindling supplies, war on several fronts and a desperate need for banknotes to circulate among the public, compromises were made and as a result several varieties of 1,000 Krabovantsiv banknotes exist. Below we will touch on what I consider major varieties.  KYIV With Kyiv being the first and most stable location, the notes printed there were of good quality and consistency. As a result, there are no major varieties that can be directly link to t

I've Been Everywhere, Man! (Part 1)

If you like collecting varieties (and I do) there are tons of them out there for Ukrainian notes, and probably my favorite varieties to collect are for the 1918-1921 1,000 Karbovantsiv banknote. It's a great note to collect by variety as it is probably the most readily available note from that period, it's fairly cheap (especially in lower grades), and it will definitely keep you on your toes as there are many varieties, especially if you collect by prefix. Before we get to the varieties let's s

Driving Towards The (Sketch Pad) Light

I've been hating on how I examine watermarks for a long time now. Holding a note up to a light source, trying to see the whole note and probably craning my neck to get a good look. Taking a good picture while trying to view a watermark in that way is on par with a center ring circus act. I knew I wanted something that sat flat on a table, with a large surface, good white lighting and didn't cost an arm and a leg. Now, I didn't search the web for "flat light table thingy for banknotes" but I knew

So Wrap The Grands Up! (I Just Want To Celebrate! (Part 3)) (Want You To Sign Your (Banknote) (Part 3, 2021))

As the year comes to a close it saw an unprecedented amount of activity coming from the NBU BPMW, twelve new releases including six new commemorative notes, and while I'm not entirely ruling an additional release prior to the new year or postdated issue in 2022 I feel now is a good time to wrap this all up. So, I'm combining this year's new varieties, commemoratives, and my speculations into a single Journal entry, and saying adieu to 2021.  First let's wrap up the commemoratives. On D

Back In The U.S.S.R.?

I've been meaning to create a Journal entry about this subject for some time, but me being me, I've dragged my feet for over a year. Recent events in and around Ukraine such as a Russian attempt to organize a coup, and Russian forces (again) amassing at Ukraine's boarders have brought this topic back to mind for me, and I figure it's better to write about this sooner rather than later. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukraine's subsequent independence, there has been an uneasy pea

It Seemed To Be The Only Thing Left Out In The Light. Nope.

I've said this a few times, that the Standard World Catalog of World Paper Money is a great reference, and that all collectors, especially beginners, would benefit from having a copy. That being said, it's not the be all end all of information, also something I've mentioned previously, and to that point here are a few more examples of Ukrainian notes not referenced in the SCWPM.   In 2018 banknotes of the denominations 1 hryvnia and 2 hryven were printed. With plans already in progress to e

I Just Want To Celebrate! (Part 2)

As I mentioned in my last journal entry there were two new circulating notes issued by the NBU, the 20 & 200 UAH notes, but the big news is that the next two commemoratives were released in tandem with the circulation issues. The 20 & 200 UAH commemoratives! Duh. This makes sense I guess, to release the same commemorative denominations with the regular circulating notes, I would assume that all were ran at the same time and the commemorative overprint added to the commemoratives after t

Want You To Sign Your (Banknote) (Part 2, 2021)

I changed computers a few weeks ago, and have been having trouble connecting to the National Bank of Ukraine website, so imagine my surprise when I saw these two notes popup on ebay. Freshly printed notes with new signatures!  New runs of the 200 and 20 hryven denominations were issued and I have to believe that the commemorative versions of these notes are not far behind. This is the second signature variety for each note of the current design. 20 Hryven   2019, PICK # A 126, Smoliy s

Fenntucky Mike

Fenntucky Mike in Signatures

Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing, Baby (Part 2)

Sometimes opportunities come along in quick succession and if you had taken advantage of the first you are then faced with the difficult decision, sometimes, of whether or not to "go in" on the second. A typical dilemma that all collectors face, and at its core is all about patience. Well, fortunately for me this recent dilemma required very little thought, or money, and I went "in" on my latest acquisition.  I've been on a shahiv kick recently and have been rewarded with some fun and uniqu

Fenntucky Mike

Fenntucky Mike in Shahiv Issues

Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing, Baby

Recently, I saw an auction popup on eBay, a couple of Ukrainian shahiv "postage stamp currency" notes. What initially caught my eye was the 20 shahiv, which was missing the perforated edges.? The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money does not currently list an unperforated variety for this note, although they are known to exist, and if real it would be a great find. But after looking at the images more closely it just didn't look right to me, not that it wasn't genuine, but I was pretty sure it

Fenntucky Mike

Fenntucky Mike in Shahiv Issues

Can It Be There's Been Some Sort Of An Error?

A  Feature Photo/album/album cover art work to get everyone in the Holiday mood.  I was scouring the world for Ukrainian banknotes the other day and one auction, at a major overseas auction house located in Prague, had 39 PCGS graded Ukrainian banknotes!  I've come across PCGS graded Ukrainian banknotes many times, so it's not like it's unusual to see them but typically PMG graded notes out number PCGS graded notes BY A LOT!  A quick search of ebay lists 217 PMG graded notes and 21 PCGS grad

Fenntucky Mike

Fenntucky Mike in Auctions

We Chew And Spit You Out! (Again)

Back at the auction frontlines.... I'm still striking out, but there were a few interesting occurrences and a high end note that sold.  In late September/early October a Ukraine P50 was listed at HA, I believe the preauction estimate was $1,500 - $2,000. I wasn't seriously bidding on this and placed a midrange preauction bid, when the day of the auction arrived I had been out bid by $700  and sat and watched the note sell for $4,320 with BP! I was never a contender on this one. I wasn't sur

Fenntucky Mike

Fenntucky Mike in Auctions

Baby (I) Did A Bad Bad Thing (Part 2)

Written 7/30 The third of four Shahiv banknotes was ending today, the 40 Shahiv banknote, and as planed I would place a lowball bid to hedge against the possibility of me being incorrect in using the Population Reports to determine the seller has another 40 Shahiv banknote that they will post soon after the auctions for the first set end. The bidding started at $43, the note was graded Choice Very Fine 35 by PMG, no EPQ designation, and no bids had been placed as of yet. Since the auction w

Fenntucky Mike

Fenntucky Mike in Collecting

Baby (I) Did A Bad Bad Thing (Part 3)

Written 8/7 The auction for the 30 Shahiv banknote ended and I didn't place a bid , with only one bidder and a $158 starting price I just couldn't justify the risk of bidding and ending up with this note. That's not to say the note was not worth the price, Top Pop, it's the harder to find "b" variety with the Gray-Violet ink and it's the only note of this variety currently graded (all pluses) but I just couldn't do it. The note just didn't have the good vibrant ink/color that I would like t

Fenntucky Mike

Fenntucky Mike in Collecting