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Notes Of Independent Ukraine, St. Vladimir: 20,000 Karbovanetsiv (Ukraine, 1996)-Article

Updated: Apr 18

This small post-Soviet Ukrainian banknote represents the 8th denomination of the Third Karbovanets (Second Series, 1993). Due to the collapse of the Soviet Union economy in November 1990, the former Ukrainian SSR distributed Karbovanets. Initially these notes were single use coupons, used in combination with Soviet Rubles.

On 10 January 1992, the Karbovanets replaced the Soviet Ruble at par (1=1). Allowing Ukraine to begin setting up a path for an independent currency. The First Series (marked 1991) was the first of these notes to be issued, with its 7 denominations (1-100). Which were quickly followed by the larger Second Series, issued from 1992-1995.

This Second Series featured 13 denomination spanning from 100 to 1,0000 Karbovanets. Denomination were simply added yearly, to counter the effects of hyperinflation. This remained the status quo until the final adoption of the Hryvnia, on 2 September 1996.


The observe features the Saint Vladimir monument at Saint Vladimir Hill. This 19th century monument is dedicated to Grand Prince of Kyiv Vladimir the Great (958-1015 CE). The monument over watches the banks of the Dnieper River. According to the legendary "Tale of Bygone Years", written by Nestor the Chronicler (1056-1114 CE). Prince Vladimir converted to Orthodox Christianity, after sending envoys to Constantinople.

Returning back to the observe, a keen observer will notice unlike the previous First Series. This note features a serial number, it reads "ТБ 2082801". Due to their rushed nature, the security measures of the First Series were somewhat lacking. These features are mostly limited guilloché work and a basic watermark.

There are a number similarities and differences between this note and the First Series. These similarities include using the same text layout, banner style, and waving guilloché lines. While differences include adding adding "Ukraine" to the footer and the Ukrainian Coat of Arms at the far left. Additionally a light blue underprint has been added to the majority of the note. The underprint of main text area (center-right) has also been changed.

The note's header reads "УКРАЇНА" (trans. Ukraine), subtilty reminding the bearer of independence. The main text states the note's value, "КУПОН 20000" (trans. coupon 20000). Below is a sub-text area, it reads "УКРАЇНСЬКИХ КАРБОВАНЦІВ", "НАЦІОНАЛЬНИЙ БАНК УКРАЇНИ", and "1991". Identifying the note as a "UKRAINIAN KARBOVANETS", issued by the "NATIONAL BANK OF UKRAINE, in "1996".


The reverse depicts façade of the National Bank of Ukraine building. Which was built in 1905, as the Kiev branch of the State Bank of the Russian Empire. The building architecture is a mix of Italian Gothic and Florentine Renaissance styles. The façade is decorated with stone lion heads and griffins. Notably griffins are associated as gold mine guardians, in the Greco-Roman tradition.

Returning to the reverse we can see the note is fairly detailed, despite it's coupon nature. With exception of the main art (bank façade), the note reuses element's from the previous 5,000 Karbovanetsiv. It reuses the same underprint pattern, which covers the majority of the reverse. This underprint incorporates blocks of directional microprint, adding passive security. All Karbovanets notes from 10,000 to 100,000 reuse the same reverse design.

Notably the style of the guilloché pattern, differs from the First Series. The style is more loosely bound, with light lilac tinged bands. To the far right is a Ukrainian Coat of Arms, which functions as a registration element negative. This feature is present from Karbovanets notes from 2,000 to 100,000.

At the note's corners are guilloché patterns with the number "20000". Reinforcing the note's 20,000 Karbovanetsiv value. The guilloché patterns have been changed to a double spiraled design, rather than a conventional floral design. As seen on the First Series notes.


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 102 x 53 mm or 4.02 x 2.09 in, smaller than a standard US Dollar.

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

  • The Ukrainian Karbovanets ISO Code is UAK, it lacked a formal currency symbol.

  • In theory the Karbovanets was subdivided into 100 kopiyka, although no currency was issued.

  • All notes of the Karbovanets First Series were demonetized on 1 October 1994.

  • All notes of the Karbovanets Second Series were demonetized on 17 September 1996.

  • Registration element form a full image by passing their observe/reverse elements over light.

  • The Caves of Saint Anthony and Saint Sophia Cathedral are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

  • The Kiev Monastery of the Caves is one of the Seven Wonders of Ukraine.


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