Niko Pirosmanashvili, The Peasant Painter: 1 Lari (Georgia, 1995)-Article

Updated: Mar 2

This Georgian banknote represents the 1st denomination of the Georgian Lari (Series 1995). The Lari (ლარი) was preceded by the transitional Georgian Kuponi (კუპონი). Which served as an transitional currency, between the Soviet Ruble and Georgian Lari. The Kuponi was briefly issued from 5 April 1993 to 2 October 1995.

Since it's introduction, the Lari has remained relatively stable. As opposed the previous 4th Issue Kuponi, which underwent rapid hyperinflation. With initial denominations ranging from 250 Kuponi and continuously expanding toward an impressive 1 Million Kuponi. This 1 Million Kuponi served as the peg, for the (then) new 1 Lari note.

As it was agreed a single Lari would be exchange for 1 Million Kuponi. Unlike the previous Kuponi, which entirely lacked subdivisions. The Lari was subdivided into 100 Tetri (თეთრი), named after the Georgian word for "white". Which is a reference to the silver coins used in ancient and medieval Georgia.


The observe features a portrait of Niko Pirosmanashvili (1862–1918), backed by grape vines. The use of grapes is cultural significant, as Georgia is regarded as the birthplace of winemaking. The vertical text at the lower right (printed in unique Georgian script) translates to "Pirosmani 1862-1918" (ფიროსმანი 1862-1918). Notably "Pirosmanashvili" and "Pirosmani" are both alternative names.

The following text to the right (ფინანსტა მინისტრი) features a signature below. This signature belongs to Minister of Finance David Onoprishvili. Opposite below the left grape vine (ეროვნული ბანკის პრეზიდენტი), is signature of President of National Bank Irakli Managadze. This particular signature and text sits on a anti-counterfeit dazzler. Seen as a series of progressive waves, that tapers along its edges.

To the upper left is a Borjgali ("the flow of time") symbol. The Borjgali is the national symbol of the Georgian people. Below the Borjgali is the text "Georgia" (საქართველო), followed by National Bank of Georgia 1995 (საქართველოს ეროვნული ბანკი 1995). This lower line of text symbolizes the note was issued by the authority of the National Bank of Georgia on 1995. The issue date may be differ between note, this example is a first year issue.

Moving to the upper far right, we can see the note's serial number (13153733). Which corresponds with the serial number on lower left. The final Georgian script to the far left (ერთი ლარი), translates to "One Lari". Made fairly obvious by the large number "1", directly below.


The reverse features a painting of 19th century Tbilisi and a Caspian Red Deer. The deer in particular, is taken from the painting "A Doe against Landscape" (1913). The text behind the deer's hind leg (თბილისი) translates to "Tbilisi", the modern and historical capital of Georgia.

Moving below we can see a decorative group of swirling lines. Nearby is the note's only English text, "Republic Of Georgia * One Lari". This value is reinforced by the number "1" at the lower right corner. A second number "1" can be seen below some vertical text.

Just as the observe this text (ერთი ლარი), translates to "One Lari". Some red iridescent fibers can be seen near this text. Moving below the beforementioned number "1" is a anti-counterfeit dazzler. Notably the dazzler is more complex than the design on the observe. Featuring tighter and more complex line arrays. Which uses a central ripple pattern, in addition to standard horizontal lines.


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 115 x 61 mm or 4.53 x 2.40 in, smaller than a standard US Dollar.

  • Kuponi notes were colloquially known as coupon notes and coupon money.

  • On 2 October 1995, the 4th Issue Georgian Kuponi was replaced by the Lari.

  • Early Lari notes were produced by French printer Oberthur Fiduciaire, Paris

  • In 2006, the 1 Lari note was replaced by a copper-nickel alloy coin.

  • Niko Pirosmanashvili died in April 1918, during the Influenza Pandemic of 1918.

  • Niko Pirosmanashvili portrait was created by photographer Eduard Klar (1861-1922).

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