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 karbovanstiv, P35, banknote with black ink used for the prefix and seral number. (Pictured below) The color difference of the background from front to back is due to the scanner, it was giving me some heartburn today.
I won this one at auction for a really good price and this is the second one in my collection. As is typical of me, once I acquire a duplicate, I will compare the two, or three or.... and in doing so I often notice some variances, or something will catch my eye, and this time was no exception. (My first black ink serial number note below.)
Upon inspection of the new note, I noticed some red ink around the prefix and seral number. It wasn't much, but I could see a few spots and kind of a red halo effect around a couple of the numbers. See Red arrows.
The red ink looks kind of light brown in the above image, some of that could be due to the black, but it is definitely red when inspected in hand. I also noticed that there were some strange markings that seemed to match the number font, you can see them in the image above, most noticeably at the top of the numbers. See Blue arrows. I thought perhaps embossing but they appear to be raised. Extra ink from printing? Possibly. I'm now wonder if the overprint was done twice. Printed in red, then again in black.? Back to the first note!
Well snap! Red Ink! So, what does this mean? Time to make a list of possible causes for the "black" ink.
1) A modern counterfeit/altered note?
2) A contemporary counterfeit/altered note?
3) The red ink reacted/faded and changed color (black)?
4) The black ink reacted/faded and changed color (red)?
5) Environmental conditions / improper storage?
6) A reaction to a substance or thing contacting the note and altering the color?
7) The same prefix and serial numbers were reprinted over the originals?
8) Red ink remnants after black ink was applied?
9) They ran out of red ink during printing?
10) The wrong typeset/font was used and had to be redone?
11) Printing method was changed?
12) This is actually purple ink that turned black/red?
13) Purple ink that reacted/faded and changed color (black) or darkened?
14) I'm seeing things?
Well, the paper of both notes appears authentic when compared to other notes with red prefix and serial numbers. Both are printed on paper with wavy lines (Rheinwellen or wellen) watermark and have the АГ prefix as they should, if the black ink variety, per available references and my own research. Also, the print quality seems to match other notes and I placed both notes under UV and IR lighting with everything looking good there.
My observations are that the red ink appears to be under the black, and that the red ink is much 'thinner' or weaker than the black, and in fact is much thinner than what is normally found on notes with red ink exclusively used on the prefixes and serial numbers. I don't believe that the font has changed, from the red to the black, and I tend to think that the same type was used as I can see red at the edges of some of the black prefixes and numbers as well as those raised areas of ink (I think) in the body of the same digits and letters. The black ink appears to have flaked off (possible due in part to the red ink below) from serial # 263394 or was insufficient or didn't adhere to the paper, in part due the red ink below. I tend to think it flaked off, when comparing the common numbers between the two notes, 2, 3, and 6, you can see what the numbers looked like fully inked and what they look like with the missing ink, in addition the edges of where the ink stops on those numbers appears jagged and in places sporadic, but I suppose that insufficient ink could appear similar. I also notice quite a bit of blue ink around some of the numbers
My conclusions, based on the above observations, is that red ink was used for the first overprint application of prefix and serial numbers, then at some point the supply of red ink or application was exhausted or insufficient and it was decided (after the red ink had dried) to reapply the overprint, this time with black (maybe purple) ink as there was no more red. This narrative fits in with the supply issues at the printing facilities in Kamianets-Padilsky, after the move from Kyiv, but is far from being substantiated. The next possible scenario would be that this is some sort of contemporary counterfeit or unauthorized printing similar to the 100 Karbovantsive notes of 1917 or the Odessa, 50 Karbovantsiv notes (pictured below) printed by General Denikin of the White Russian Army using the captured clichés. The Denikin notes are identified by the serial number used, serial numbers AO 209 and lower were authorized by the Ukrainian Government, serial numbers AO 210 and higher were printed by Denikin and quickly denounced by Ukraine. Another theory is that this is not really black ink but purple that has turned, I say this based on the presence of blue ink on both notes in the areas of the prefix and serial numbers, this again would suggest these notes being printed at Kamianets-Podilsky as there was already produced a "violet" back variety at that location.
While there are still other possibilities such as these notes being modern counterfeits, I need a second opinion to completely rule that out, I feel pretty good about the conclusions I've drawn so far. Next, I need to get more familiar with how the overprint was applied to these notes, as there may be more information to be gleaned there. It's worth checking out at any rate. With that being said I welcome input from other collectors. I've probably left out a possible scenario or reason the black or purple ink was applied or not or am completely off base with my thinking. Bring it on people.
I'll probably send these off to PMG at some point, but first I need to see if they will even consider this a variety (black ink variety) or if there is already a Pick # assigned for it. If there is not a Pick # or if PMG won't consider the black ink as a variety, then I'll probably forgo sending them. We'll see.