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Notes Of Independent Ukraine, The Cathedral: 5 Karbovantsi (Ukraine, 1991)-Article

This small post-Soviet Ukrainian banknote represents the 3rd denomination of the Third Karbovanets (First Series, 1991). Due to the collapse of the Soviet Union economy in November 1990, the former Ukrainian SSR distributed Karbovanets. Initially these coupons were single use items, 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 a statue of Lybid, from the Kyiv Founders monument at Navodnytsky Park. According to the legendary "Tale of Bygone Years", written by Nestor the Chronicler (1056-1114 CE). The city of Kyiv was founded by Lybid with her legendary brothers Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv. This work is said to been written in the Kiev Monastery of the Caves.

Returning back to the observe, a keen observer will notice a lack of serial numbers and signatures. Due to the rushed nature of these notes security measures are somewhat lacking. These features are mostly limited guilloché work. Such as seen in the underprint and the lines along the Lybid statue. Additional pattern work can be seen along the header.

The header simply reads "УКРАЇНА" (trans. Ukraine), subtilty reminding the bearer of independence. The main text states the note's value, "КУПОН 5" (trans. coupon 5). Below is a sub-text area, it reads "КАРБОВАНЦІВ", "НАЦІОНАЛЬНИЙ БАНК УКРАЇНИ", and "1991". Identifying the note as a "KARBOVANETS", issued by the "NATIONAL BANK OF UKRAINE, in "1991".


The reverse depicts Kyiv Pechersk Lavra, also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves. The caves beneath the larger monastery have been active since 1051 CE. It's said Prince Iziaslav I of Kiev ceded the Berestov Mount to St Anthony of Kiev (983–1073) and his order, the Anthonite monks. After St Anthony and St Theodosius of Kiev gained favor with the Kievan Rus.

Returning to the reverse we can see the illustration is fairly detailed, despite the note's coupon nature. Beyond this illustration the remainder is fairly sparse. Excluding the large floral guilloché pattern to the right. At each corner is an additional guilloché pattern with a number "5". Reinforcing the note's 5 Karbovanet value.

Third Karbovanets Galley (Series 1991)

(Gallery contains only banknotes within the database)


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 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.

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

  • 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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