One of the things that draws me to world banknotes, lesser known and/or collected world banknotes, is that you can find and acquire "rarities" within a series or country and typically at a fraction of the cost for a similar U.S. note or similar heavily collected notes like China. In addition to the accessibility and price points another bonus is the variety or shear volume at times of the types of "rarities" you can acquire, and the volatility present in most newer countries just adds to the diversity of notes that are available. Lets use one of my latest additions as an example.
I recently was able to pick up a 1992, 100 Hryven unissued note, it is from the 1st series Hryven banknotes released in 1996 (if you want a little bit of the back story for the delay from the time of printing 1992 to release 1996, see my previous journal entry "It's a long way to the top, if you wanna (good looking note)"). A really fun note, printed as part of the 1st series of modern Hryven banknotes of Independent Ukraine, which in addition to the 100 included denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, & 50. The 100 Hryven was never released into circulation (along with the 50), at least not wide spread circulation. The first series notes did not last long, printed by the CBNC (Canadian Bank Note Company) in 1992 the first series was printed by dry offset method using low quality inks, this exposed the first series to massive counterfeiting problems as individuals would use chemical solutions to wash away the ink from 1 Hryvnia notes and print higher denominations on them. Between 1992 and 1996, the time from when the first series notes were printed to the time they were released, the BPMW (Banknote Printing and Minting Works) of the NBU (National Bank of Ukraine) was established and put into operation (late 1994), now Ukraine was capable of printing it's own currency and in fact did, printing the second series of Hryven banknotes (some of the second series notes were printed in England by TDLR (Thomas de la Rue)) in 1994. That always cracks me up, as they now had the first two series of Hryvnia banknotes printed and neither would be release for at least another two years as the Control Coupons were still circulating and being printed. With the establishment of the BPMW in addition to the counterfeiting issues the first series did not have a long run until the second series was released. Precisely one year to the date (September 2, 1996) the second series was rolled out and circulated with the first. The second series included denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 & 200 (the 200 Hryven note was printed/added to the series in 2001) the third series would not be printed until 2003. My assumption is that the first series notes were so heavily counterfeited and the second series being already printed and ready to release, the government of Ukraine did not want or now need the first series 50 and 100 Hryven notes to circulate.
Here is the first series 100 Hryven note.
It is not known (by me anyway) how may were printed but based on the serial number and current availability of such notes I would wager a minimum of 1,000 notes were/are floating around out there. On the front of the note is a portrait of Taras Shevchenko with the word UKRAINE printed above and the denomination (One Hundred Hryven) as text below. On the back is printed a landscape with the building of the Verkhovna Rada (parliament of Ukraine or translated "Supreme Council of Ukraine") in the center, above is written National Bank of Ukraine below the denomination in text. The note has visible green security fibers along with UV visible fibers, the watermark is a trident or tryzub repeating. I'm not sure why the watermark was not included on the label or why the printer is sometimes omitted. (A Journal for another day) The note is perforated across the lower center, the perforations spell out НЕПЛАТІЖНА or NON-PAYMENT. This brings me to the point where I disagree with PMG on the use of the word "SPECIMEN" to describe this note, I tend to feel it was printed for circulation and then canceled. The perforations are perfectly aligned to the note so it does seem as if it was done by machine and not a manually operated or hand held punch, which (I think) goes against my opinion of not calling this note a specimen. I have no doubt that the holes were done after printing as I can see pieces of paper around the edges that did not cut cleanly and were dragged down into the perforations with ink still on them and where the punch made a clean cut, no ink on the walls of the perforation. I don't know, printed at the same time as the rest of the first series, perforated after printing, existing notes have varying serial #'s, no other (issued) first series specimen notes were perforated in this way and some un-canceled notes known to exist. There's just to many factors for me to call this a specimen, I would think "CANCELED" and/or "NOT ISSUED" would be more appropriate terms for this note.
There is another specimen (I guess I'll call it a second specimen since PMG is calling the perforated note a specimen) with diagonal red overprint ЗРАЗОК (SAMPLE). There is a red overprinted number on the lower right corner of the back, presumably the number of the sample, the note below is numbered 0926. I have seen this number as high as 2489 on the first series 50 Hryven note and as these were printed at the same time I will assume the 100 Hryven is numbered at least that high as well (of course they (the uncut sheets) could have been run through sequentially, the 50 & 100 maybe even the rest of the series. Hmm.). The serial number of the specimen note below is 0000000000 which is typical of most modern Ukrainian specimens.
There are also known proofs of this note, the proofs are stamped SPECIMEN on the front and back with black ink and may or may not contain handwritten notations on the bill.
I recently thought I'd see if PMG would create a slot for this note in one of the registry sets, I received the anticipated response of "this is more suitable for a custom PMG set". Lol, looking back at the email PMG sent it's kind of funny, the title of the email is "Registry submission REJECTED" ha! When I first saw the email it kind of stunned me/scared me, all I saw was rejected in all caps, I thought one of my ongoing projects had been declined (better read the whole title next time). I do tend to agree with the decision to not allow the note into an existing registry set as it was presumably not issued to the public. I just thought I'd give it a try since there are I think five or so graded by PMG, sometimes the number graded will make the difference. So I'll eventually be creating a Signature set to house this note along with the 50 Hryven and the variants of each. So if you want to see this note again you'll either have to go back to this Journal entry or look in the signature set but don't worry, it's really not an issue.
For reference here are the first and second series notes.
First series, printed 1992 released 1996 Second series, printed 1994 released 1997 (missing the 200 Hryven note which was added/printed in 2001)
I was rereading this journal entry and I noticed one additional item worth noting. The 50 and 100 Hryven 1st series notes (unissued notes) are the only two of that series to have a holographic patch on them, meaning they have an added anticounterfeiting device. It appears to have been applied prior to printing or at least the ink being applied as there are numerous reflective flakes around the patch but none appear to be on top, on the surface, of the ink. So they inked over the patch? I'm not quite sure of that, I'll have to do further research. That patch makes me wonder if those denominations weren't printed at a later date or possibly the patch added later. If the counterfeiting was as widespread as implied did they hold up the release of the 50 & 100 to add this patch or possibly scrap out notes printed in 1992 and reprint in 1996 to add the patch? I think my imagination maybe getting away from me.