After a 2-3 month stint stretching through the dog-days of summer/numismatics and a tumbling Euro, English Pound, and virtually every other currency, against the USD, there were several auctions being held across the globe in recent weeks with heaps of top notch world notes in them. Most have now come to fruition and with mixed results for me. In the world of Ukrainian banknotes top notch notes, the rarest of the rare, including rare varieties, are still commanding strong prices (surprisingly), having stared inflation, a shrinking economy and global currencies falling against the Dollar, squarely in the face and shrugging them off. Condition rarities also did well but were not as strong when compared to rarer notes and auction location, U.S. or World, did not seem to matter although the selection of notes in auctions held worldwide was much better, which is to be expected.
Let's start off, shall we.
This 1 Karbowanez note graded PMG 66 sold for a little over $300! Winner me! Somewhat rare to find these in that condition, currently there is only one graded higher at 67, it was an upgrade for me and the first auction win I've had in quite some time. The price was strong, and I went over what I was hoping to spend but...
An uber rare 200 Karbowanez specimen was auctioned off a few days later, it had a starting price of $350 with an estimate of between $800-1000. This note is right up my alley and having been saving all my pennies for a while now I took a stab at it but had to sheepishly bow out at $1,300 and then sat back and watched this note skyrocket to a final price of $3,840 with BP. All internet bids on this one. An awesome, awesome note for someone.
Next up we have a 500 Karbowanez note, PMG 64 EPQ, that would complete my set of issued Karbowanez notes quite nicely. I've been waiting a long while to pick one of these up, years, and the prices haven't been softening. Recent auction sales have consisted of a PMG 64 EPQ, sold at HA this year for $564, a PMG 66 EPQ went for $750 at HA in 2021, a PMG 63 (no EPQ) sold for $264 at HA in 2020, another PMG 64 (no EPQ) went for $456 at SB in 2021 and a couple different PMG 55 (no EPQ) notes went for €516 and €298 respectively in 2021 & 2022. The paper is a little dark on this one but it's uniform with a small smudge in the upper left margin, but all in all a nice note and since I've been tired of getting stepped on lately, I went full throttle on this and took it for just over €600. Ouch! This was just under my max bid by a few dollars, but it completes my 1942 set of issued notes! I finally finished a set! Now I just need to save up for a 2 Karbowanez (P50) note, good luck with that.
There was also a 500 Karbowanez, PMG 66 EPQ, Top Pop 1/0, note that was for sale in a separate auction held in The Netherlands but the note looked questionable for the grade and the auction house noted "inconsistencies" with the holder, it looks like the holder was damaged somehow and the note with it. There is some darkening in the upper margin and lower corner, and what looks like a crease on the right face margin, back left. No thanks, I'll pass. That note sold for €350.
Next up for me a 1918, 1000 Hryven banknote in a PMG 58 EPQ holder. Fifty eight is one of those grades where a note can be undervalued or under-graded and there is sometimes good value in AU notes. It's a good looking note with slightly rounded corners and not so great centering. Ok, probably not an under graded note here but a decent enough hole filler so I threw a bid down on this note and took it for just over €200. Nice! There was a 64 EPQ that sold for the same price a few months ago that I missed out on but I'll take this as a consolation prize. I didn't have a good feel for what the market price was on graded examples of this note as I watched the 64 EPQ sell, I obviously felt it was high at the time, since graded examples rarely come up for sale, but as it turns out I should have jumped on the 64 EPQ when I had the change but... No regrets though, as this note is an excellent example on its own.
Next up we have a 1918, 1000 Karbovantsiv note, raw, with GREAT ink, you seldom see these with the ink as vibrant as it is on this note, I have never viewed a note of this type with the blue ink so intact. Typically, the blue background has faded to a light grey, brown, or a barely distinguishable light blue, and to see one with such original ink is amazing! It really makes the floral patterns, rays and background designs pop with the added contrast between the blue and brown color schemes! It's great to see a 100+ year old note as it would have appeared straight off the presses. The note is in AU condition with some staining in a lower corner, slightly rounded corners and a faint corner fold. I ended up taking this note for €114 , this was a very strong price for the note in the condition it is in. I'd typically expect this note to sell in the €60 range, but the fabulous ink/color drove the price up. I think.
Moving right along, we come to a 1918, 25 Karbovantsiv note, it was in Fine condition with several folds, a few tears, etc.. I took a flier on it at €60 but it ended up going for €114, again, a strong price for a note in this condition.
For the next two notes my butt was firmly planted on the sideline, as they were the uber rare (or so it is believed, although I have documented over 20 individual notes so far ) and highly coveted unissued 2 Karbowanez banknotes, one raw and one graded PMG 53. The PMG graded note was the better looking of the two, even though it had been previously passed on at The New York Sale back on 1/13/2021, held by Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers, it was raw at that time, but I digress. In the end the raw note sold for €3720 and bidding for the PMG graded note is up to $900 (includes BP) with 12 days to go until close. This is the THIRD 2 Karbowanez banknote, the PMG 53, to be sold by HA this year. UPDATE: the PMG note sold for $2040 at HA on 10/20/2022.
There were also several additional Ukrainian specimens that drew strong prices, a 1918, 2 Hryven specimen in excellent condition sold for €2881. I graciously bowed out at €1000.
A front and back pair, set, of 1000 Karbovantsiv uniface specimens which went for. €3910, with me, again, making a speedy exit from the bidding. This is an amazingly strong price as a similar specimen set, graded PMG 50 (face) & 55 (back), sold in January of this year for $2592. The condition of both specimen sets was similar with the PMG graded notes having been previously mounted but the ungraded notes having a center fold.
Finally, a front and back pair, set, of 500 Hryven uniface specimens which went for €3841. Woah! I was a surprised this lot climbed to that level, especially with both notes having been previously mounted and folded in the center.
Ok, a few more since I'm having great luck with getting a bunch of images into this post! A couple of 1000 Karbovantsiv notes of 1917, in two separate auctions both P# 1b, one in a PMG 64 EPQ holder and the other a raw AU note with a small tear in the margin. The PMG 64 EPQ note went for €775 and the raw AU €506. A PMG 65 EPQ example sold for $1,380 back in July of this year.
Raw Pick # 1b.
As mentioned, rare varieties did extremely well with several pulling in four figure prices, here a few highlights.
A 1918, 10 Hryven prefix В variety sold for €1741.
A 1918, 2 Hryven prefix Г variety sold for €2820.
The 1918-21, 1000 Karbovantsiv prefix AЖ with wavy lines of varnish variety realized a sound €457.
All in all a busy few weeks for Ukrainian banknotes, with many amazing notes finding new homes and some lucky new owners. All the Ukrainian notes pulled strong prices and there were NO deals to be had, anywhere, in any of the half dozen or so auctions comprising around 200+ lots of Ukrainian notes. My hope of acquiring a few notes at reduced prices from some of these auctions because of a strong Dollar and slowing economy was completely crushed. I wonder how many bidders were based in the U.S. vs World locations and how many were dealers? I'll post more of my winnings from these auctions in the "Post Your Latest Addition" thread on the Chat Boards as they arrive.