Paper Money

Armenia releases three new high-denomination-notes

The Central Bank of Armenia released the three highest face values of the six denominations in its new family of bank notes on Nov. 22, coincident with the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the Armenian dram in 1993. 

The notes are printed on a composite material, cotton paper protected by a thin layer of polyester, trademarked as Hybrid, that the bank says will last longer than the old plain cotton paper notes that will remain in circulation.

The 145- by 72-millimeter 10,000-dram bank note is dedicated to composer and clergyman Komitas. The face has his portrait against a background of pages from his manuscripts and an Armenian landscape. The back has the monument to Komitas in Etchmiadzin; in the background is the Gevorgian Seminary building and selections from frescoes in the seminary’s hall. The face value of 10,000 drams is the equivalent of a little more than $20 in U.S. funds.


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The face of the 20,000-dram note shows the Russian-Armenian painter Ivan (Hovhannes) Aivazovsky with some of his work in the background. The back shows the monument to him in Yerevan, the Aivazovsky Art Gallery, and a panorama of the painter’s birthplace, Theodosia. The 20,000-dram note measures 150 by 72 millimeters.

The face of the 50,000-dram note shows Saint Gregory the Illuminator, who converted Armenia from paganism to Christianity in 301, standing in front of contemporary manuscripts. The back features his tombstone in Etchmiadzin with Mount Ararat, the Khor Virap Monastery, and an adoption scene engraved on a wall in the monastery complex. It measures 155 by 72 millimeters.

The denominations being issued Dec. 25 are the 1,000-dram note, dedicated to poet Paruyr Sevak; the 2,000-dram note, honoring chess grandmaster Tigran Petrosian; and the 5,000-dram note, which celebrates the American-Armenian writer William Saroyan

There will be no replacement for the current 100,000-dram note. 

The notes are being printed in Germany by Giesecke & Devrient. 

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