Ukrainian karbovanets

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Ukrainian karbovanets
український карбованець (Ukrainian)
Ukraine-1991-Bill-1-Obverse.jpg 1,000,000 Karbovantsiv (1995 obverse).jpg
1 karbovanets1,000,000 karbovantsiv
ISO 4217
Pluralkarbovantsi (nom. pl.), karbovantsiv (gen. pl.)
1100kopiyka (копійка)
 kopiyka (копійка)kopiyky (nom. pl.), kopiyok (gen. pl.)
Banknotes1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10 000, 20 000, 50 000, 100 000, 200 000, 500 000, 1 000 000 karbovantsiv
User(s)Ukraine Ukrainian People's Republic (1st)
 Ukrainian SSR
Nazi Germany Reichskommissariat Ukraine (2nd)
 Ukraine (3rd)
Central bankNational Bank of Ukraine
This infobox shows the latest status before this currency was rendered obsolete.

The karbovanets or karbovanet (Ukrainian: карбованець, romanizedkarbovanets, plural: карбованці, karbovantsi for 2–4, or карбованців, karbovantsiv for 5 or more), also known as kupon (Ukrainian: купон, romanizedkupon, plural: купони, kupony) or coupon, has been a distinct unit of currency in Ukraine during three separate periods of the 20th century. It is also a predecessor currency of today's Ukrainian hryvnia.

The karbovanets was subdivided into one hundred kopiykas, but no denominations in kopiykas have ever been issued.

In the ISO 4217 standard, the official name is spelled as karbovanet,[1][2] while English version of the National Bank of Ukraine's website refers to it as karbovanets.[3]


First karbovanets (1917–1920)[edit]

Ukrainian Central Rada (1917–1918)[edit]

In March 1917 in Kyiv, some political parties formed the Central Rada which proclaimed on 20 November 1917, the foundation of the Ukrainian People's Republic.

And by just December 19 of the same year, a temporary law about the issue of state banknotes by the UPR was adopted. According to this law: "Banknotes must be issued in karbovanets" (Ukrainian: Карбованець). Each karbovanets contains 17.424 parts of pure gold and is divided into two hryvnias Ukrainian: Гривня or 200 shahs (Ukrainian: Шаг).

The etymology of the name "karbovanets" is debatable: by one supposition it originated in Ukraine from the ancient primitive way to carve (karbuvaty, Ukrainian: Карбувати) numbers of calculations on a rod, and by another supposition – from the carving (incision) on a rim of a metal rouble.

1917 100-karbovanets banknote, obverse
1917 100-karbovanets banknote, reverse
The reverse of the 1917 100-karbovanets note had the value printed in Polish, Ukrainian, and Yiddish

On 5 January 1918, the first Ukrainian banknote with a value of 100 karbovanets was issued. There is an interesting detail: the trident depicted on the banknote was proclaimed as a National Emblem of the UPR only on 25 February 1918. On all issued banknotes was stated only one series – "AД" and only one number – 185. Combined with the use of ordinary paper (without watermarks) for printing of this banknote, this led to the appearance of a great number of counterfeit bank-notes in circulation.

On 20 September 1918, the Central Rada proclaimed the issue of banknotes of the State Treasure in denominations of 5, 10, 25, and 50 karbovanets, to be valid until 1 March 1924. On 6 April, the population of Kyiv first saw 25-karbovanets banknotes, and 50 karbovanets banknotes later appeared, but 5- and 10-karbovanets banknotes were not released. Primarily this series of banknotes was issued without designation of series and number. In subsequent issues, the series indicated the place of printing: AK (Kyiv) and AO (Odessa).

After the occupation of Odessa by military units of Denikin's Army in spring 1919, the printing house of Odessa continued printing bank-notes of 50 karbovanets. The Ukrainian Government was indignant and proclaimed money issued by the Denikinists to be false (series AO, numbers 210 and above).

In 1920, the Government of Ukraine printed some dozens of millions of banknotes for temporary use of Revolutionary Committee in the Western Ukraine. This issue of series AO had numbers from 236 to 250.

The next release by the Central Rada (Parliament of Ukraine) was issued on 19 April 1918 and included denominations of 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 shahs. The term "shah" is borrowed by the Central Rada from the ancient name of small coins (change) from as long ago as the 16th century. Shahs were printed in Kyiv in sheets of 100, perforated in order to simplify tearing off separate banknotes. "Shahs" were in circulation until March 1919 when they were abolished by the Soviets. There are many existing banknotes of this value.

Ukrainian State Government (1918)[edit]

The Congress of Free Hubb'andmen[spelling?] on 29 April 1918 (with the great support of Austrian-German occupants), elected tsarist general P.P. Skoropadsky as Hetman of Ukraine. He proclaimed the overthrow of the Central Rada Government and the foundation of the Ukrainian State.

In Skoropadsky's time, the so-called "paper hryvnias" were introduced in commerce. They were ordered by the Central Rada from Germany.

On 5 August 1918, the first bank-note which appeared in commerce was the 3.6% state-bond with the name "Bank-note of the State Treasure". State-bonds were printed with eight coupons, four coupons on each side. Primarily they were to be issued for the purpose of internal loans. But the general lack of circulating banknotes led to state-bonds and even separate coupons being used as paper money.

On 17 October 1918, the Hetman's government received from Germany another supply of bank-notes with values of 2, 10, and 100 hryvnias, as ordered by the Central Rada. A bit later, bank-notes of 1000 and 2000 hrivnas were received. They were needed by Hetman's Government due to exaggerated inflation in Ukraine. They bore the abbreviation of the Ukrainian State(УД, Ukrainian: Українська Держава), an official name of Ukraine in the Hetman's time.

These hryvnias were issued on 17 October 1918, 59 days before the Hetman's overthrow.

Ukrainian Directorate (1918–1920)[edit]

The defeat of Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I resulted also in the break-up of Ukraine's occupation regime (Hetman Skoropadsky's government). On the night of 14 November 1918 in Bila Tserkva, the Government of the Ukrainian Directorate was formed with V. K. Vynnychenko, S. V. Petlyura and others at its head. Within a month, military forces of the Directorate occupied Kyiv. On 16 January 1919, the Government of the Directorate declared war on Soviet Russia. This action required issuing enormous sums of money.

In Kyiv, the Directorate used reserves of bank-notes which were issued previously by the Central Rada's governments.

The military campaign of the Directorate turned out to be unsuccessful, and the offensive of the Red Army forced the Directorate to leave Kyiv and to settle for some time in Vinnytsia (5 February 1919). There the Directorate used 3.6% State bonds for their purchasing power. Under the pressure of Soviet forces, the Directorate retreated still farther to Ternopil, and then Stanislav (now Ivano-Frankivsk) by the end of February 1919. Beginning in March 1919, one of the most unsuccessful series of bank-notes (5 hryvnias) was issued. Compiled from different elements of earlier Ukrainian banknotes, 5-hryvnia bank-notes were hastily printed on grey paper and contained an error in their text: гривна instead of гривень. Some bank-notes with such misprints entered circulation. The next bastion for the embattled Directorate was Kamanets-Podilsk, where it held out for almost a year and issued a few more bank-notes.

First, in August 1919, banknotes were printed with the value of 100, 250, and 1000 karbovanets. For printing of these bank-notes, they used clichés (slugs of type) that had been prepared by the Hetman's government.

One of the best bank-notes among all Ukrainian paper-money is a bank-note of 1000 karbovanets. This bank-note was issued in Kyiv and entered circulation on 13 November 1918. Printing was continued by the Directorate government in October 1919 at Kamyanets'-Podilsk, and in 1920 at Warsaw. The last issue is unknown.

A bit later, lower denomination notes – 10 karbovanets (August 1919) and 25 karbovanets (October 1919) were put into use. The design of the 10 karbovanets (tank-note) was prepared in Hetman's period and their obverse had the large letters УД which designated the Ukrainian state (Ukrainian: Українська Держава).

The last bank-notes of the Directorate were prepared in Austria. The series contained bank-notes of 50 and 1000 hryvnias. But they were never issued (only some specimen copies are known). On November 20, 1920, the Directorial Government was disbanded by S.V. Petlyura's edict and its provision of currency ended.

Ukrainian SSR (1919–1920)[edit]

At the beginning of 1919 in Kharkiv, the pro-Soviet government was formed. It represented Soviet Russia in its war against the Ukrainian Directorate. By Lenin's direction Russia financed the pro-Soviet government. However, a period of unprecedented inflation was triggered by the Civil War and resulted in a sharp deficit of circulating money, especially petty bank-notes.

The People's Commissar of Finance of the USSR, with the mutual consent of the RSFSR government, decided to use the 10 karbovanets bank-notes of the Directorate. This note's cliché and artwork (without series and numbers) were captured by the Red Army on 5 February 1919. during the takeover of Kyiv from the Petlyurian troops. The Soviet bank-note differed from the Directorate's in paper, ink, water-marks, and the location of their series and numbers.

One more bank-note of 50 karbovanets with Soviet symbolics was printed. On 1 June 1919, the Ukraine united with the Soviet governments of Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Belarus in a common revolutionary front, and only one monetary unit was legitimized – the ruble of the USSR. The necessity of printing separate bank-notes was gone, and the 50-karbovanets bank-note is known only by some specimen copies.

Second karbovanets (1942–1945)[edit]

During the Nazi occupation of Ukraine in World War II, the German occupying government (Reichskommissariat Ukraine) issued banknotes denominated in karbovanets (karbowanez in German). The karbovanets replaced the Soviet ruble at par and was in circulation between 1942 and 1945. It was pegged to the Reichsmark at a rate of 10 karbovantsiv = 1 Reichsmark.

Third karbovanets (1992–1996)[edit]

Single use coupons issued at 1991

In November 1990, with the collapse of the Soviet command economy, the Ukrainian SSR introduced one-time coupons, which were distributed to Ukrainian residents. The coupons were needed in addition to rubles in order to buy groceries and living essentials. On 10 January 1992,[citation needed] the karbovanets replaced rubles at par, with the ISO 4217 code being UAK.

The karbovanets, which suffered from hyperinflation, was replaced by the hryvnia in 1996, at a rate of 100,000 karbovantsiv to 1 hryvnia. The hryvnia was introduced in 1996, a 15-day period was in effect from September, 2nd until September, 16th in 1996, during which both the karbovanets and hryvnia were in circulation. After that, the use of the karbovanets as a national currency was discontinued.


First karbovanets[edit]

In 1917, the Central Rada of the Ukrainian People's Republic introduced 100 karbovantsiv notes. These were followed in 1918 by State Treasury notes for 25 and 50 karbovantsiv. That year also saw the issue of postage stamp currency denominated in shah and various bonds, together with state credit notes in denominations of 2, 10, 100, 500, 1,000 and 2,000 hryven. The Directorate issued notes for 100, 250 and 100 karbovanets in 1918, followed by 10 and 25 karbovanets in 1919. State notes for 5, 50 and 1,000 hryven were issued in 1920. 1 karbovanets was worth 2 hryvni or 200 shah.

1918 series[4]
Picture Face value Value in Years of printing
Obverse Reverse Karbovanets Hryvnia Shah
Banknotes denominated in shah
10 shah perforated UNR 1918.png Ходить нарівні з дзвінкою монетою 10, 20, 30 shah single frame 1918 01.jpg 10 shah 0.05 0.1 10 1918
20 shah perforated UNR 1918.jpg 20 shah 0.1 0.2 20
30 shah perforated UNR 1918.jpg 30 shah 0.15 0.3 30
40 shah perforated UNR 1918.jpg 40 shah 0.2 0.4 40
50 shah perforated UNR 1918.jpg 50 shah 0.25 0.5 50
90 shah 0.45 0.9 90
1 hryvnia 80 shah 0.9 1.8 180
3 hryvnia 60 shah coupon 200 hryvnia 1918.jpg 3 hryvni 60 shah 1.8 3.6 360
Banknotes denominated in hryvnia
2-hryvnia-1918-front.png 2-hryvnia-1918-back.png 2 hryvni 1 2 200 1918
10 hryven 5 10 1000 1918
50-UAH-UNR-3.6%-a.png 50-UAH-UNR-3.6%-r.png 50 hryven 25 50 5000
50 UAH 1920-obverse.jpg 50 UAH 1920-reverse.jpg 1920
100-UAH-UNR-3.6%-r.png 100-UAH-UNR-3.6%-a.png 100 hryven 50 100 10 000 1918
Ukrainian 100 hryvnia's note of the People's repub.jlic of Ukraine (1918) front side.jpg Ukrainian 100 hryvnia's note of the People's republic of Ukraine (1918) back side.jpg
200-UAH-UNR-3.6%-a.png 200-UAH-UNR-3.6%-r.png 200 hryven 100 200 20 000
500-grn-1918.jpg 500-grn-1918-a.jpg 500 hryven 250 500 50 000
1000-UAH-UNR-3.6%-a.png 1000-UAH-UNR-3.6%-r.png 1000 hryven 500 1000 100 000
UkraineP24-1000Hryven-1918-donatedos f.jpg UkraineP24-1000Hryven-1918-donatedos b.jpg
1000 UAH 1920-obverse.jpg 1000 UAH 1920-reverse.jpg 1920
2000 hryven 1000 2000 200 000 1918
Banknotes denominated in karbovanets
UkraineP36-10Karbovantsiv-(1919) f.jpg UkraineP36-10Karbovantsiv-(1919) b.jpg 10 karbovanets 10 20 2000 1919
UkraineP2a-25Karbovantsiv-(1918)-donatedos f.jpg UkraineP2a-25Karbovantsiv-(1918)-donatedos b.jpg 25 karbovanets 25 50 5000 1918
Karbovanets 50 1918 01.jpg Karbovanets 50 1918 02.jpg 50 karbovanets 50 100 10 000 1918-1920
100karbovantsevUNR A.jpg 100karbovantsevUNR R.jpg 100 karbovanets 100 200 20 000 1917
100karbovantsev1918 A.jpg 100karbovantsev1918 R.jpg 1918
UkraineP39-250Griven-1918-donatedfvt f.jpg UkraineP39-250Griven-1918-donatedfvt b.jpg 250 karbovanets 250 500 50 000
UkraineP40-1000Karbovantsiv-(1918) b-donated.jpg UkraineP40-1000Karbovantsiv-(1918) f-donated.jpg 1000 karbovanets 1000 2000 200 000

Second karbovanets[edit]

Banknotes were introduced in June 1942 in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 karbovanets. The banknotes were in dark colour, carrying nearly all inscriptions in German, and a warning in both German and Ukrainian stating "falsification of banknotes is punished by imprisoning". The obverse of the notes all featured a portrait, including children, a peasant, a miner, a seaman and a chemist. The Nazi Reichsadler also appeared.

1941–1944 Series
Image Value Main Colour
Obverse Reverse
UkraineP49-1Karbowanez-1942-donatedmjd f.jpg UkraineP49-1Karbowanez-1942-donatedmjd b.jpg 1 brown
2Karbowanez-1942 a.JPG 2Karbowanez-1942 r.JPG 2 brown
5Karbowanez-1942 a.jpg 5Karbowanez-1942 r.jpg 5 brown
UkraineP52-10Karbowanez-1942-donatedmjd f.jpg UkraineP52-10Karbowanez-1942-donatedmjd b.jpg 10 brown
UkraineP53-20Karbowanez-1942-donatedmjd f.jpg UkraineP53-20Karbowanez-1942-donatedmjd b.jpg 20 brown
UkraineP54-50Karbowanez-1942-donatedmjd f.jpg UkraineP54-50Karbowanez-1942-donatedmjd b.jpg 50 brown
100Karbowanez-1942 a.jpg 100Karbowanez-1942 r.jpg 100 brown
UkraineP56-200Karbowanez-1942-donatedmjd f.jpg UkraineP56-200Karbowanez-1942-donatedmjd b.jpg 200 brown
UkraineP57-500Karbowanez-1942-donatedmjd f.jpg UkraineP57-500Karbowanez-1942-donatedmjd b.jpg 500 brown

Third karbovanets[edit]

In 1991, notes were introduced in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 karbovanets (also called kupons[5] or coupons). All 1991 banknotes were of the same design, picturing Lybid from the monument of the founders of Kyiv on the obverse, and the Sophia Cathedral on reverse. The banknotes did not carry individual serial numbers or signatures. In 1992, banknotes for 100, 200, 500, 1,000 karbovanets were issued, which carried serial numbers and were better protected to counterfeiting.

First Series
Image Value Main Colour Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse first printing issue
Ukraine-1991-Bill-1-Obverse.jpg Ukraine-1991-Bill-1-Reverse.jpg 1 brown Lybid Kyiv Pechersk Lavra 1991 1991
UkraineP82-3Karbovantsi-1991 f.jpg UkraineP82-3Karbovantsi-1991 b.jpg 3 green Lybid Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
UkraineP83-5Karbovantsiv-1991 f-donated.jpg UkraineP83-5Karbovantsiv-1991 b-donated.jpg 5 blue Lybid Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
UkraineP84-10Karbovantsiv-1991 f.jpg UkraineP84-10Karbovantsiv-1991 b.jpg 10 pink Lybid Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
UkraineP85-25Karbovantsiv-1991 f-donated.jpg UkraineP85-25Karbovantsiv-1991 b-donated.jpg 25 purple Lybid Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
50 karbovanets 1991 front.jpg 50 karbovanets 1991 back.jpg 50 green Lybid Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
Ukraine-1991-Bill-100-Obverse.jpg 100 karbovanets 1991 back.jpg 100 brown Lybid Kyiv Pechersk Lavra

In 1993, banknotes for 2000 and 5000 karbovanets were issued. Having similar designs as the 1992 banknotes, they were the first to carry the Coat of arms of Ukraine. In the same year, notes for 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 karbovanets were also introduced into circulation, which were bigger in size and pictured the Volodymyr Monument on the obverse and the Kyiv Opera on the reverse. Subsequently, banknotes for 200,000 and 500,000 karbovanets were introduced in 1994, followed by the 1,000,000 karbovanets banknote in 1995, which pictured the Taras Shevchenko Monument in Kyiv.

Second Series
Image Value Main Colour Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse first printing issue
Ukraine-1992-Bill-100-Obverse.jpg Ukraine-1992-Bill-100-Reverse.jpg 100 orange Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv Kyiv Pechersk Lavra 1992 1992
UkraineP89-200Karbovantsiv-1992 f-donated.jpg UkraineP89-200Karbovantsiv-1992 b-donated.jpg 200 brown Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
Украинские 500 карбованцев. Аверс. 1992.jpg Украинские 500 карбованцев. Реверс. 1992.jpg 500 cyan Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
UkraineP91a-1000Karbovantsiv-1992-donatedao f.jpg UkraineP91a-1000Karbovantsiv-1992-donatedao b.jpg 1,000 red Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
UkraineP92-2000Karbovantsiv-1993 f-donated.jpg UkraineP92-2000Karbovantsiv-1993 b-donated.jpg 2,000 blue Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv Kyiv Pechersk Lavra 1993 1993
5 000 karbovanets 1993 front.jpg 5 000 karbovanets 1993 back.jpg 5,000 red Kyi, Shchek and Khoryv Kyiv Pechersk Lavra
Украинские 10000 купонов. Аверс. 1993.jpg Украинские 10000 купонов. Реверс. 1993.jpg 10,000 green Volodymyrska Hill National Bank of Ukraine headquarters
Украинские 20 000 карбованцев. Аверс. 1993.jpg 20 000 karbovanets 1994 back.jpg 20,000 purple Volodymyrska Hill National Bank of Ukraine headquarters
Украинские 50 000 карбованцев. Аверс. 1993.jpg Украинские 50 000 карбованцев. Реверс. 1993.jpg 50,000 light orange Volodymyrska Hill National Bank of Ukraine headquarters
UkraineP97-100000Karbovantsiv-1994 f-donated.jpg 100 000 karbovanets 1993 back.jpg 100,000 grey Volodymyrska Hill National Bank of Ukraine headquarters
200 000 karbovanets 1994 front.jpg 200 000 karbovanets 1994 back.jpg 200,000 brown Volodymyrska Hill National Opera of Ukraine 1994 1994
500 000 karbovanets 1994 front.jpg 500 000 karbovanets 1994 back.jpg 500,000 blue Volodymyrska Hill National Opera of Ukraine
1,000,000 Karbovantsiv (1995 obverse).jpg 1,000,000 Karbovantsiv (1995 reverse).jpg 1,000,000 brown Taras Shevchenko Red University Building 1995 1995

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ISO 2008, Amendments 50, 90.
  2. ^ List of codes for historic denominations of currencies & funds
  3. ^ НБР: History of Hryvnia
  4. ^ "Banknotes from Ukraine – Numista". Retrieved 2023-03-12.
  5. ^ Hyperinflation in Ukraine

External links[edit]

Preceded by:
Russian ruble
Reason: independence
Currency of Ukrainian People's Republic
19 December 1917 – 1 March 1918
Succeeded by:
Ukrainian hryvnia
Preceded by:
Ukrainian hryvnia
Reason: coup d'état
(on April 29, 1918)
Currency of Ukrainian State
April 1918 – December 1918
Succeeded by:
Ukrainian hryvnia
Reason: coup d'état
(on December 14, 1918)
Ukrainian karbovanets
Preceded by:
Ukrainian hryvnia
Reason: Soviet occupation
(November 1920)
Currency of Ukrainian SSR
1920 – 1942
Succeeded by:
Second (Nazi) karbovanets
Reason: Nazi occupation
Preceded by:
Second (Nazi) karbovanets
Reason: Soviet occupation
Currency of Ukrainian SSR
1945 – 1992
Succeeded by:
Third Ukrainian karbovanets
Reason: Independence
(on August 24, 1991)
Second (Nazi) karbovanets
Preceded by:
Ukrainian karbovanets
Reason: Nazi occupation
Currency of Reichskommissariat Ukraine
1942 – 1945
Succeeded by:
Ukrainian karbovanets
Reason: Soviet occupation
Third karbovanets
Preceded by:
Ukrainian karbovanets
Reason: Independence
(on August 24, 1991)
Currency of Ukraine
1992 – 1996
Succeeded by:
Ukrainian hryvnia
Reason: inflation
(on September 2, 1996)

Ratio: 1 hryvnia = 100 000 karbovanets