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Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?

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Fenntucky Mike

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On February 23, 2023 the NBU issued into circulation the commemorative ₴20 banknote "WE WILL NOT FORGET! WE WILL NOT FORGIVE!", Andriy Pyshneyy, Governor of the NBU, presented the new banknote during a press conference earlier in the day. The commemorative note will have a limited run of 300k, all the notes will have prefix ЗС and be dated 2023 with Pyshneyy's signature donning the face. Serial numbers will range from 0000001 to 0300000, with 200k being available in folders and the other 99,900 in envelopes, per the NBU. The selling of commemorative banknotes in souvenir packaging and/or envelopes is typical of the NBU in recent years, and the shortage of 100 notes from the total availability of the envelopes is, presumably, either an error in the press release or some notes were held back to be distributed amongst a few individuals and institutions. The commemorative notes were available for purchase on February 24, through all the standard distributor banks of the NBU, as well as on the NBU's website. The security features are similar to those found on other circulating notes of Ukraine but are design specific to the note, a unique watermark, SPARK feature, micro-text, UV and IR features, etc. can all be found on the note. I'll take a wild guess and say that I expect Pick # 133a to be assigned to this note, or possibly P# CS4.

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The description of the banknote from the NBU is as follows:

"The main image of the front of the note are three Ukrainian soldiers who are hoisting a Ukrainian state flag (photo entitled “Ukrainian soldiers are hoisting a flag” by Oleksandr Smirnov) against the backdrop of fragments of a map of [Eastern] Ukraine [and Crimea] and the flags of the countries that support Ukraine. [The flags of the United Kingdom, European Union, United States and Canada are visible] Above are the following texts (with a laurel wreath between them) in Ukrainian and English: "24 лютого 2022 року повномасштабним вторгненням російської армії розпочався новий етап збройної агресії проти України. Народна війна за незалежність і суверенітет України триває з 2014 року. Це також війна за цивілізаційний вибір: Україна відстоює свою приналежність до європейської цивілізації і водночас – ті засадничі цінності, права і свободи, що лежать в основі західного світу; On 24 February, a new stage of armed aggression against Ukraine began with a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the russian army. The people’s war for the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine has been going on since 2014. This is also a war for a civilizational choice: Ukraine is defending its place in European civilization, and at the same time fighting for the fundamental values, rights and freedoms that underpin the Western world". Under the laurel wreath are the legend І НА ОНОВЛЕНІЙ ЗЕМЛІ ВРАГА НЕ БУДЕ... (And on the renovated land, there’ll be no enemy...) and a polymer thread containing the symbol of the hryvnia, the logotype of the National Bank of Ukraine, the shoulder patch of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, the emblem Ukraine’s Armed Forces and the legend СЛАВА УКРАЇНІ, ГЕРОЯМ СЛАВА (Glory to Ukraine, Glory to the Heroes). The banknote’s face value 20 is beneath to the left, while the vertical legend ДВАДЦЯТЬ ГРИВЕНЬ (twenty hryvnias) is to the right of the soldiers. There is also a stylized steppe with poppies symbolizing Ukraine’s dead defenders."

Photo by Oleksandr Smirnov below.

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"The main image of the back of the note is a stylized composition that symbolizes the physical and mental suffering of Ukrainians under occupation – hands tied behind a person’s back, against the background of crumpled cloth, behind which a figure with a bullet wound in the form of a poppy is suggested (designed by Serhii Mishakin); on both sides of the figure are stylized wings made from candle flames; above, against the backdrop of the outlines of destroyed houses is a crown of thorns that stands for martyrdom; to the right of the crown is a security feature – a colored composition consisting of a guilder rose and an anti-tank hedgehog. The back of the note also features the legend “ПАМЯТАЄМО! НЕ ПРОБАЧИМО! НІКОЛИ!” (We will not forget! We will not forgive! Never!) (under the crown of thorns), while also depicting a kind of illusion – stylized poppies that stand for bloody bullet wounds." The banknote was designed by one of the NBU's go to artists, Volodymyr Taran. 

In May of 2022 the commemorative banknote was scheduled for release in December of that year but was delayed/pushed back to February of 2023, presumably due to production/design difficulties brought on by the war and to coincide with the 1-year anniversary of the Russian invasion. Also, if you didn't know already, the NBU's next commemorative note is currently scheduled for release in December of '23, entitled "Long Live Ukraine". I expect that the commemorative ₴20 banknote in December will be a completely new design as well. 

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With a print run of 300k I wouldn't call this note scarce but being a completely new design, with powerful imagery and context, I expect this note to be in high demand, as opposed to the ₴500 Skovoroda commemorative note issued in December of 2022 which was comprised of 2021 dated notes with the previous Governor's signature and OVI overprint in the form of the festival logo. With a much smaller run of 50k the (2022) commemorative Skovoroda notes are still readily available at reasonable prices. The "WE WILL NOT FORGET! WE WILL NOT FORGIVE!" commemorative notes are currently available as various online selling platforms in the $20 range, not including shipping, but can be found for much more reasonable prices if dealing direct with Ukrainian sellers. Prices have climbed since the first listings were posted on the 23rd. Who's Buying?

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The new commemorative banknote measures in at 80 x 165mm making it the largest banknote issued by the NBU, both length and width, since Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. The previous "largest" banknote was the circulating ₴1000 with dimensions of 75 x 160mm. This is also the first vertically oriented banknote issued by the NBU in modern times, with the only other vertically oriented notes being the postage-stamp currency of 1918, the Shahiv. In 2020 the NBU released a souvenir (fantasy) note celebrating the first astronaut of Independent Ukraine, Leonid Kadeniuk. The souvenir was not intended for circulation and carried no value, but it was vertically oriented and measured 80 x 170mm, making it slightly larger than the new commemorative, with similar orientation. The NBU also released a test note in 2008, horizontally oriented with no value, that measured in at a whopping 95 x 180mm making it the largest "note" the NBU has released in modern times.

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On 2/28/2023 at 4:47 PM, ColonialCoinsUK said:

You just need to track down who the first 100 notes went to, and then persuade them to part with them :bigsmile:

Oh that would be sweet if I could find one of those! I probably wouldn't turn down that autographed and dated full sheet if they offered it to me either. Just saying NBU. :whistle: I'd give it a good home.

All the notes that I saw in the images and video of the press conference were serialized as ЗС 0000000 and they were not marked as specimens. 

Images from a Reuters article. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-unveils-banknote-anniversary-russian-invasion-2023-02-23/ 

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Pick # 133 was assigned to this note. 

Currently available graded for astronomical prices, I'll be waiting until a seller with realistic expectations lists them or send in my own. I'm sure the larger sellers will have them available soon for around $75 in 68EPQ. These are available for under $20 raw all day long. 

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