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Borjgali, Notes From The Flow Of Time 11: 1000000 Kuponi (Georgia, 1994)

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

This early post-Soviet Georgian coupon-banknote represents the 8th denomination of the 4th Issue Kuponi (1993). The Georgian Kuponi, also colloquially known as coupon notes or coupon money. Were a transitional currency, which served as an intermediary between the Soviet Ruble and Georgian Lari.

The Kuponi lacked sub-divisions and under went rapid hyperinflation. It featured 4 different “issues” (series) for 1993 alone, along with a single 1994 issue. The final 1994 issue was a continuation of the 4th issue 1993, including a reissued 20 000 Kuponi denomination. Notes from the 4th issue 1993/1994 have a unique appearance from previous issues. Although they continue to use same alternating color scheme used by previous issues.


The note's observe is relatively sparse, featuring Georgian script and a denomination specific hot piink on light pink color scheme. At the observe's center is a pair of stone griffins guarding a Borjgali ("the flow of time") symbol. The Borjgali is the national symbol of the Georgian people.

Above the Borjgali is the text, “კუპონი საქართველოს ეროვნული ბანკი”, which translates to “Coupon National Bank of Georgia”. Below is the number 1000000, followed by, “ერთი მილიონი ” or “One Million”. To the left is a watermark area, at its top is the text “კუპონი” or “Coupon”.


The reverse is even more sparse, then the note's already simple observe. It features a pair of 2 thick grape vines, each with 3 bundles of grapes. A subtle reference to the nation's rich and diverse wine tradition. At the reverse's center is a large number “1000000” arranged vertically. To its right and left is Georgian text, it reads “ერთი მილიონი” or “One Million”. At the note's far right is a watermark area.

Georgia is currently home to nearly 400 types of local wines. The majority of which are created for export. The nation's wine culture dates to at least 8,000 years. Originating from ancient neolithic farmers burying large kvevri clay vessels, filled with grape juice. The average kvevri can carry 800 liters (211 gallons) of wine. Although larger kvevri can hold up to 10,000 liters (2642 gallons). Some kvevri have been buried up to 50 years, to produce special types of wine.

A Georgian winemaker posing with a kvevri, in 1881.

The Flow Of Time

The Borjgali is a Caucasian sun wheel symbol, featuring seven rotating wings. This symbol visually represents not only sacred number, but an act of simulated motion. Thus symbolically representing the passage of time. By associating the imagine of spinning sun, as its indefinite rising and setting.

Below this note's Borjgali is a branched base, which abstractly represents the “Tree of Life”. A symbol commonly associated with sun wheel imagery. Notably the “tree” is missing downward pointing branches, which are used to represents the past. It only features four upward branches, thus representing that only the future lies forward. Providing a subtle nationalistic undertone of a sovereign/post-Soviet, Georgian nation moving forward.

In regards to the linguistic origin of the term “Borjgali, the issue currently in debate. One common interpretation states, it's derived from the Mingrelian language. The Mingrelians are an ethnic sub-group, who live in Western Georgia, along the shores of the Black Sea. It's believed Borjgali combines the Mingrelian words “Borj” (time) and “Gal” (pass/flow). The Borjgali also displays similarities to the Armenian “Arevakhach” (Sun Cross), pointing to a degree of cultural diffusion.

Despite the symbol ancient continuity, it's use was somewhat diminished in Soviet Georgia. Due to Soviet policy increasingly promoting the concept of a collective “Soviet People”. Since the fall of the Soviet Union (1991), usage of the Borjgali has increased. As the concept of nationalism has been increasingly normalized. Being featured on currency, official government documents, company logos, and even the Georgian Rugby Union. With it's members colloquially known as “borjgalosnebi” or “Men Bearing The Borjgali”.

Watermark and UV Analysis

The watermark features simple isometric designs. These simple watermark designs are common for early Post-Soviet banknotes. Which relied on repeating patterns simple abstract designs. Such as the interlocking “C-in-C” pattern seen in early Belorussian Rubles.

The note features a number of hidden elements, when observe under ultraviolet light. Both sides of the note's surface are covered in iridescence fibers. They are particularly noticeable on the note's white surfaces. Appearing as small blue and red fibers, when seen under regular white light. These fibers shine a bright florescent green, when exposed to UV light.

Doing so will also activate UV-sensitive ink, back lighting the note's main text. Along with 2 previously invisible borjgali symbols, on the observe. They appear resting one each, on the griffins' backs. The note's serial number shines dull gray, this may be due to aging. (Click the UV Gallery for a clearer view)

UV Gallery

4th Issue Kuponi Gallery


Additional Notes

  • The note's dimensions are 115 × 55 mm or 4.53 x 2.17 in, classifying it a small banknote.

  • Standard protective sleeves can be used to preserve this banknote, although are oversized.

  • The preferred method to preserve this note are side opening sleeves, cut to size.

  • All non-currency related photos are public domain images, provided by Wikimedia.

  • In 2013, UNESCO declared the art of traditional kvevri wine making an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Photo Credits

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