Paper Money

Ukraine goes retro with commemorative note design

The National Bank of Ukraine issued a commemorative noncirculating 100-hryvnia bank note on Dec. 17 that, while modern in its printing techniques, is decidedly retro in appearance. 

The note was issued to celebrate the 100th anniversaries of both the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917 to 1921 and the introduction of the first bank notes of an independent Ukraine.

A third anniversary dates from the spring of 1918, when the Ukrainian government decided to change the name of its domestic money from “rubles” to “hryvnia.” This was to emphasize the continuity of national traditions dating to the time of Kievan Rus, the mostly East Slavic state that was centered in Kiev from the ninth to the 12th century. 

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The note’s face has the denomination within a wreath of flowers, fruits, vegetables and wheat. On the left side is a woman wearing a national costume with a wheat sheaf and a sickle in her hand. To the right is a man in an apron leaning on a large hammer wrapped with laurel. 

Inscriptions and the denomination on the back appear below another wreath of plants and fruit suspended from a pair of ornate columns. A trident in a laurel wreath is in the center.

The watermark in the paper is also a trident. Stylized images of Ukrainian flags take on a yellow-blue glow when viewed under ultraviolet light. The bill measures 80 by 170 millimeters and is limited to a print run on 100,000. The bank specifically states that the note is a souvenir and “not a payment instrument.”

The note is the equivalent of approximately $3.65 in U.S. funds.

The first independent Ukrainian currency had a short life. On Dec. 12, 1922, Ukraine became part of the U.S.S.R. as the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic. 

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