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Secret Secret I've Got A Secret (Part 1)

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Fenntucky Mike


Not really, but I thought I'd share a few of the lesser-known varieties of Ukrainian Control Coupons from the second series, what I consider the second series (P#88-93, excluding 91A & 91B, issued 1992, '93 & '95), not found in the Standard Catalog Of World Paper Money and draw a few conclusions along the way.

Descriptions of the second series from the latest, probably last printed, edition of the SCWPM. 2019, 25th edition, try to ignore the notations I've added many more since this image was taken. lol


One day while searching for Ukrainian notes I stumbled across a listing for two 1992 500 Karbovantsiv banknotes, nothing unusual about that per se, but upon further examination of the seller's listing they provided an image of both notes under UV lighting where one of the notes mas missing some UV features when compared to the other, in addition the seller was offering to send a free article on two, unlisted, varieties (I checked to verify) and I was sold. I picked up the two notes forthwith, the asking price was miniscule, and requested a copy of the article which the seller sent without hesitation. Nice!

Images of the two 500 Karbovantsiv control coupons under UV lighting and scanned.



The note with serial number 236/27 414059 is lit up like a Christmas tree when compared to note 088/6 316174. The fractional prefix and serial number (236/27 414059) are much more illuminated under UV, the repeating pattern behind the numeric denomination and the word КУПОН (COUPON, not illuminated) along with the numeric denomination (500) are also illuminated under UV, while those features are completely missing on the top note (088/6 316174). What's going on?

The article I received was written by Dmitry Zagorenko and Evgeniy Likhatsky, sorry if I got your names wrong guys, it is written in Russian/maybe Ukrainian (I translated it both ways and the Russian translation from Google was more coherent, I kind of mashed bits of both together in my English version (shrug)), and I had to translate it so there might have been a few of the finer details lost in translation but for the most part the translation was a success. I'll be referencing this study several times here and will refer to it as the "article" moving forward, if anyone wants a copy of the original or my English translation let me know and I'll send you a copy. 

In the article there is no mention of a difference between varieties involving the UV features but instead lists two other differences between the notes along with numerator and denominator ranges for the Type 1 (S# 236/27 414059) and Type 2 (S# 088/6 316174) notes. In short, the article details a contrast difference between the T1 & 2 notes in the background behind the prefix and serial number, and a spacing difference between the fractional prefix and serial number. Also mentioned in the article is that T1 & 2 notes are not confined to this denomination and that they are also found in the 100, & 1000 Karbovantsiv notes of this series (issue) as well. T1 & 2 notes of the 200 Karbovantsiv denomination in the same series are reported to exist but had not been confirmed at the time of the article's publishing and they did not include the 2000 or 5000 denominated notes in the study, although early research on my part indicates that the same "varieties" exist in those denominations and perhaps the third series notes as well. T1 notes have a lighter background behind the fractional prefix and serial number and wider spacing between fractional prefix and serial number, T2 notes have a darker background behind the fractional prefix and serial number and closer spacing between the fractional prefix and serial number.

I'm only going to detail the 1992 dated, 500 Karbovantsiv second series notes in this Journal entry, as space for images is limited. The lightening of the background mentioned in the article is present in the note with serial number 088/6 316174, along with wider spacing between the prefix and serial number. The note with serial number 236/27 414059 exhibits the darker background behind the prefix and serial number and closer/no spacing between the prefix and serial number that was described in the article. The note with S# 088/6 316174 is a T1 variety and the note with S# 236/27 414059 is a T2 variety. 

The background behind the prefix and serial number has been clearly lightened on both varieties, presumably to increase the visibility of the prefix and serial number, with an approximately 38 x 3-millimeter rectangle relieved in that area of the design. The authors of the article speculate that the original lightening of the design was not sufficient to improve the visibility of the prefix and serial number and a second attempt at lightening the design was undertaken. I don't necessarily disagree that the lighter background was done after the original relief, but I would have changed the variety designation in that regard, calling the darker background note T1 and the lighter T2. Regardless, I think their thinking is sound in the order of how these were printed.


Composite image of the area between the prefix and serial number of the T1 note.


Composite image of the area between the prefix and serial number of the T2 note.


Some might question that the plates were modified and suggest the application of the ink is the reason for the lightening of the area behind the prefix and serial number but that does not appear to be the case to me. At least I'm not sure how it could be done by solely adjusting the ink in a 38 x 3mm rectangle during production? Purely a guess on my part but my initial thought on how the printing plate was/could have been modified would be that the engraving was lowered/relieved lessening the ink transfer in that area.? Having to modifying every single point in the engraving seems like a nightmare to me and something I would try to avoid. lol Or maybe some sort of chemical, or wax(?), was applied to that area of the plate to limit the amount of ink that adhered to it, thereby further lightening the area behind the prefix and serial number? If that was the case I would still lean towards a variety. Just thinking out loud...hm

The second difference noted in the article is the spacing between the fractional prefix and serial number, in the T1 notes there is a noticeably wider gap between the fractional prefix and serial number, almost one complete digit or one complete digit. This does seem to ring true overall, based on the small sample size of notes in my collection, three dozen or so, and images of other notes available online, although the spacing is not consistent. Without knowing the sequence of steps in the printing process for these notes it's difficult to say with any certainty the reason for the gap variance but my initial theories would include that the fractional prefix was overprinted independently of the serial number and the serial numbers added after the prefix, (whether the process was retooling and running the sheets through again or maybe that the tooling for the prefix and serial number applications were inline but independent of one another) or that both were applied via a numbering wheel with a fractional prefix attachment where the spacing varied. Of the two I would think the prefix and serial number being added separately in some manner is the most likely due to small variances within the large and narrow gap varieties, which would most likely be a result of the printed sheets being slightly misaligned or "floating" as the prefix and serial numbers were added. It is a very normal thing to see serial number placement on notes vary and float around in the general location that they should be in. I'm not completely sold on the spacing between the prefix and serial number being a 100% accurate identifier for T1 & 2 notes as it does not seem consistent enough to my liking. More on that in a future journal entry.


In addition to the two variations already mentioned between T1 & 2 notes, the authors of the article try to identify within which fractional prefix ranges the T1 & 2 varieties exist/were produced. In the article they identify all T1 notes as having a numerator of between 001-108 and all T2 notes with numerators between 201-250. The authors also give a range of denominators, series, in which the T1 &2 varieties exist for each denomination, below are two tables from the article.

Below, table of denominators of T1 notes.


Below, table of denominators of T2 notes.


This would mean that for the 500 Karbovantsiv control coupons dated 1992 all T1 notes would have numerators between 001-108 and denominators of 5,6,7,8 and 15, all T2 notes would have numerators between 201-250 and denominators of 26,27 and 28. These number ranges seem to be accurate based on my small sample size of notes but there is much work to be done in this area in regards to refining the ranges for all denominations. 

The article also touches on specimens (of which there have been no T1 & 2 varieties found within the same denomination), replacements (for which both varieties have been found, T1's being rarely found in uncirculated condition and T2's being rarely found in circulated condition), and tries to correlate the serial number (first three digits) with either how/where they were produced, order of release and which bank branches the were sent to, but I'm not going to touch on any of those topics at this time. All in all the article was an interesting read, with some interesting thoughts on these notes, and I enjoyed it. The real question is are the T1 & 2 notes really varieties? I tend to lean towards yes based on what seems to be a modification to the printing plates, not so much the prefix and serial number spacing, and time will tell if these become accepted as such. If the T1 & T2 note varieties are verified and do become accepted/collected in by individuals then that will mean there will be at least three new varieties in need of Pick #'s, for the 100, 500 & 1000 denominations, and in all likely hood based on what I'm seeing new Pick #'s for the 200, 2000 & 5000 as well. This will mean six new Control Coupon varieties. Time to add some new notations to my copy of the SCWP. lol

Now, back to the missing UV ink on the T1 note, prefix and serial number 088/6 316174! Where is it and is this note another variety? Well, it seems to have nothing to do with the T1 & 2 varieties of these notes, which I had initially thought when first purchasing them, as I have sufficient T1 & 2 notes WITH the UV features. So my only conclusions are that the non-UV note is either an error with missing UV ink, or the UV ink was intentionally removed to make it appear as an error, or the UV ink faded somehow. I see no evidence of tampering at this time, and I've not heard of the UV ink fading/waring over time, so in my mind that really only leaves one option. An error. That's how I'll be labeling it in my collection at any rate, along with the T1 designation and maybe a question mark or two on the label. lol

I went ahead and picked up a few quarter bundles of 1992, 500 Karbovantsiv banknotes, fifty notes total, and they are all circulated with varying prefix and serial numbers. I figure that this will give me a better sample size and with the notes in hand I'll be able to examine them and place all of them under UV. I'll report back if I find anything interesting. (thumbsu

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Recommended Comments

Fantastic and invaluable information as usual :golfclap:

It would be great if catalogues could also include UV images of notes.

A similar thing happens with the El Salvador 1983 5 colones (Pick134) where the serial number in Series BJ-BZ fluoresces green under UV light whereas for Series HA-UA the serial number does not! I don't have the UV images :frown: How do you scan notes easily at home to get the images????



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On 9/28/2022 at 4:30 PM, ColonialCoinsUK said:

It would be great if catalogues could also include UV images of notes.

I second that motion! :preach: There are a few catalogs and websites with UV images for SOME notes but it is few and far between, I'd like to see images of the notes backlit showing watermarks as well. hm It wouldn't be that difficult for an individual to do this on there own and "publish" a document for a series of notes or Country. I may tackle this in the very near future starting with modern Ukrainian notes, I pretty much already have most of the images needed already. Great idea my friend. (thumbsu

On 9/28/2022 at 4:30 PM, ColonialCoinsUK said:

I don't have the UV images :frown: How do you scan notes easily at home to get the images????

For the UV images I take pictures of my notes using a digital camera or my phone. I'll block out as much light as possible in a room, turn on my UV light and snap a few pics. It works well for the most part, although I wish I had a larger UV light so as to be able to have multiple notes under it.

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