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

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Fenntucky Mike


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. (shrug) I didn't have time to take images of the notes prior to submitting them, I wanted to for a little guess the grade, but I'll try to make that happen next time. At any rate, they've gone and returned already, ahead of the projected turnaround time listed by PMG, and they are looking great in their new holders. ^^

The first batch of specimens were from the early years, shortly after Ukraine's break from the USSR. The first notes issued by the newly independent Republic were several series of coupons, or control coupons as they are often referred to, denominated in karbovanets. The first series specimens (printed, 1991) are the least common of the four, and the most simplistic in design and security features. There is currently no registry set for these. 



I've decided to go with a black background for the imaging (scanning) of all the notes, I like it. :bigsmile: It's much better than a white background for these, as the boarders of the notes tend to blend in with a white background making distinguishing where the edge of the note stops and starts very difficult at times. A big improvement for these, I think, and it really makes the notes POP.

The second series coupons (first printing, 1992) received a new design but were printed on similar paper, with identical watermark, and cut to same dimensions as the first series. The back design is identical on the three notes from the submission, other than the denomination and color ink used, so I'm only posting the back of one of the notes. These are not to terribly hard to find, as I see them somewhat regularly, and no varieties helps. There is currently no registry set for the second series specimens. 





The 2000 Karbovantsiv note below is somewhat of a transitional note, while this note is grouped with the Third series notes (first printing,1993) the design is more in line with the second series notes (1992) as the major design elements, size and watermark are identical to that series of notes. The only things this note has in common with the third series notes is the shield with Tryzub on the face of the note and being dated 1993. 



Next we have the third series notes, with these notes we have yet another design change, plus a size change to go along with the new design, the notes became larger. If you haven't noticed the values have been increasing steadily with each new issue, inflation was riding roughshod over the entire Nation at the time facilitating the need for ever higher denominations of coupons in Ukraine. There are multiple varieties for most of the notes in this series and this series has the most denominations meaning that notes from this series are often seen, but there are a few key date varieties that are very difficult to find. There is a specimen set in the PMG registry for the third and fourth series notes and the six eligible notes from this submission are now located in their new registry set homes. 





The fourth series notes, at least what I'm calling the fourth series notes, were issued starting in 1994, with more design changes and ever-increasing denominations. These don't hit the auction blocks very frequently but are more common than the first series. These are included in the same registry set as the third series notes, and with only three notes comprising the fourth series, I'm in complete agreement with that set configuration. 

rantrant The 1,000,000 karbovantsiv note was printed in 1995 and is listed as a standalone issue in the SCWP, which is based on issue date, but if we were categorizing based on issue dates alone then the 200,000 & 500,000 karbovantsiv notes of 1994 should be the fourth series and the 1,000,000 karbovantsiv of 1995 the fifth series. My preference would be to classify these by design/series and that would mean the 2000 karbovantsiv note posted above would move to the second series (1992) notes, along with the 5000 karbovantsiv note of '93, then the two hundred thousand, five hundred thousand and one million karbovantsiv notes would be the fourth series. But that's an argument for another time/journal entry. 





I am very pleased with the job done by PMG and all of the grades seem fair/accurate to me, they are at least within a range that I thought the notes would grade at. At any rate, these specimen sets are all about completing the set, including all varieties, as these notes don't come up for sale very often. Now that I'm nearing the end, with fewer slots left to fill, the task becomes even more difficult in finding the notes needed. I currently have six empty slots left in my registry set but I have three of the notes required raw and will be submitting them soon, I forgot to include them with this batch doh!, and I know of a note going to auction in the near future that would also fit in nicely. If all goes according to plan, I will have only two notes missing from the set by the end of the year, which would be a major coup for me, and who knows maybe those other two elusive notes will show up as well. :wishluck:

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Recommended Comments

That is a nice group of specimens you have, and I'm glad that they graded nicely.  Do you have any idea how many of the different specimens were produced for each different type, or is there anywhere where it is documented. Did Ukraine ever use regular issued bills as specimens like other countries did, where they would just punch out the word specimen. It's very interesting to see specimens from other countries that don't come up for sale as often. Great post!

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On 8/9/2022 at 9:12 PM, VE Coins said:

That is a nice group of specimens you have, and I'm glad that they graded nicely.

Thanks! I was hoping for a little better grades than the 64 & 65 two of the specimens received but those grades were not outside of the range I thought they were in. 

On 8/9/2022 at 9:12 PM, VE Coins said:

Did Ukraine ever use regular issued bills as specimens like other countries did, where they would just punch out the word specimen.

For these series notes technically no, but they did perforate "SPECIMEN" into several proofs, color trials and unissued notes. Now that I'm thinking about it, I don't believe Ukraine has ever had an issued note with specimens that were perforated. 

On 8/9/2022 at 9:12 PM, VE Coins said:

Do you have any idea how many of the different specimens were produced for each different type, or is there anywhere where it is documented.

Fortunately there are several pretty good references on these, unfortunately none of the references contains all of the information as a whole and some information is just not documented at all. I have yet to come across any printing figures for Ukrainian specimens, so I couldn't give you an actual number of how many of each were printed. As far as availability, from my perspective, notes from the first series are the hardest to find followed by the fourth, second and third series. There are some harder to find varieties within each series, but in general that's how they seem to rank.

The first series specimens from 1991 only have red overprint specimens but if you were to include proofs and color trials this becomes the series with the most varieties, several were perforated "SPECIMEN" by I.S.B. (Imprimerie Special de Banque). For each issued note in the first series (7 notes total) there are known proofs with "SPECIMEN" perforated just above the numeric denomination on the face. There are also several unissued coupons/denominations with "SPECIMEN" perforated in the same location, if someone was to include the proofs, unissued notes and color trials in their collecting goals they would be looking at 40 notes total for just the first series. Unissued denomination below, a proof, with "SPECIMEN" perforated above the denomination. 


The second series, printed by T.D.L.R. (Thomas de la Rue), has fewer notes and only specimens with red overprint, but, again, if you start including proofs and color trials that number jumps up and more than doubles the number of notes with "SPECIMEN" on them. Color trials below.


The third and fourth series, printed by T.D.L.R. and the N.B.U. (National Bank of Ukraine), have the most specimens in terms of shear number of denominations and variations/varieties. The most common varieties are simple date changes on the notes when more were printed and prefix changes, going from a fractional to alphabetical (fractional prefix notes printed by T.D.L.R., alphabetical prefix notes printed by the N.B.U). There are some proofs known for the third and fourth series but not nearly as many as the others and no color trials that I am aware of.



Date and prefix change within series/denomination.


If you are counting only legitimate specimens from these series you are looking at a 30 note collection, if you include the variation/varieties, a type set would be 20. If you included proofs and color trials then you'd probably be looking at around 70 notes! The possibility of someone actually being able to assemble a set like that is pretty much zero though, the notes just aren't available or don't exist and the financial aspect of it would only make it possible for a select few. I'll stick to drooling over pictures. 

I also suspect that there could be even more variations not listed in any of the references but have not found the notes to prove it yet. The odds are low of me ever finding these, or that they were even printed, but if I do discover them you'll hear it here first. xD

Edited by Fenntucky Mike
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On 8/14/2022 at 4:38 AM, ColonialCoinsUK said:

I was starting to look at more modern specimen notes for my collection as there are surprising few graded examples out there - now your posts have forced me into it :roflmao:

It's what I do, can't wait to see some once you acquire them. :baiting:

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