While an independent Ukraine has fully embraced commemorative coins from the beginning, with the first commemoratives dated 1995 shortly after the Banknote Printing and Minting Works was fully operational in late 1994, banknotes have not seen the same type of attention. Thank goodness! I currently count six commemorative, souvenir and presentation notes having been issued/released since the BPMW fired up their presses to produce the 50,000 Karbovantsiv notes in 1994. Six commemorative notes in 27 years! Well, the NBU has bucked that trend in 2021, according to the NBU's planned souvenir products schedule there will be commemorative notes in each circulating denomination released this year, celebrating the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's independence (August 24, 1991). The notes are to be released between August and December, with print runs of 30,000 for each denomination. The six commemorative notes to be issued this year will match the entire amount of commemorative notes issued in the prior 27 years.
Naturally having seen this bit of information I went off searching for these notes and found that the 100 & 500 UAH notes had already been released, and since I went to the trouble of locating them I just couldn't resist the urge to pick up a few of each denomination. Again, the notes have the exact same base design and security elements as the current circulating notes, which were designed in 2014 & 2015 respectively. The only change is the addition of a 30th Anniversary logo placed directly over the location of the watermark, which reads "30 years (of) Independence (of) Ukraine". The color of the logo will change to match the color scheme of the note it is printed on, it was added via screen printing and is optically variable, meaning it will change color depending on the angle at which it is observed. Both notes are being sold through the NBU's Online Store, the 100 UAH is currently selling for $4.22 and the 500 UAH $18.97.
The notes are dated 2021 and have the signature of the current Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, Kyrylo Shevchenko, both the 100 & 500 UAH notes have the prefix ЯА and will be numbered from 1 - 30000. Presumably all the commemorative notes will have the same prefix and logo, both notes were released on 8-20-2021. I'm not sure why they didn't release these on the day of Ukraine's independence, August 24, maybe they have the day off?
Presumably Pick numbers will be assigned according to release date and denomination and as such I would think that the 100 UAH should end up being Pick # 129, total guess, with the 500 UAH being Pick # 130. Similar commemorative notes have been assigned completely new pick numbers even though the notes had the same base design and since it is a "circulating" note a "C" (Commemorative) Pick number is probably not in the cards either. Guess I'll have to wait and see how that turns out, some of the new Pick #'s for Ukrainian notes have been a little weird at times.
While I'm not completely on board with commemoratives I feel like I can embrace these as they have a respectable print run, low price and (so far) have been easy to acquire. I'll be picking up the remaining four denominations as they become available, and we'll see what next year brings. If the NBU starts commemorating events like the 250th Anniversary of traveler's checks or the 212th anniversary of P. T. Barnum's birth in 2022, I'm out. Lastly, since these are officially new notes, with a new signature (on the 100) and technically design, there's really only one thing left to do.