In the aftermath of the October revolution in 1917, the Transcaucasian area left the Russian Empire soon to create an independent constituency, i.e. the Transcaucasian Commissariat.
In 1918 , the Transcaucasian Commissariat put its banknotes (bonds) with 1, 3, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 250 ruble denomination into circulation. The history of Armenian banknotes begins with these banknotes since for the first time Armenian inscriptions appear on them.
Pic. 1. Transcaucasian Commissariat, banknote (bond) of 50 ruble denomination
Achieving independence on May 28, 1918, the first Republic of Armenia in 1919 put the checks, as issued by Yerevan branch of the State Bank, into circulation, and then, the banknotes of 50, 100 and 250 ruble denomination. Those were designed by H. Kojoyan and A. Fetvadjian and printed by “Waterloo & Sons Limited” in London. This issue stands out for its decoration, the use of traditional style in painting and ornaments with elegance, security features and high quality printing.
Pic 2. Republic of Armenia, 500 ruble denomination check of the State Bank Yerevan branch, 1919
Pic 3. Republic of Armenia, banknote of 250 ruble denomination, 1919
On 2 December 1920 the Republic of Armenia was proclaimed as a Socialist Soviet Republic, and on 20 December the authorities of the Soviet Armenia enacted a decree stipulating a mandatory circulation of banknotes of the Soviet Russia along with other currencies.
In 1921 the check of the Yerevan branch of the State Bank, with a nominal value of 10000 rubles, was put into circulation, and later, banknotes of 5000 and 10000 ruble denomination were introduced.
Pic. 4. Socialist Soviet Republic of Armenia, banknote of 10000 ruble denomination, 1921
In 1922 the banknotes of 25000, 100000, 1 million and 5 million ruble denomination as well as a bill at par value of 5 million ruble were issued.
Pic. 5. Socialist Soviet Republic of Armenia, banknote of 1 million ruble denomination, 1922
At the end of 1922, three republics – Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan – united to constitute the Federative Union of Transcaucasian Soviet Socialist Republics (FUTSSR). The FUTSSR issued the banknotes dated 1923 of 1000, 5000, 10000, 25000, 50000, 100000, 250000, 500000, 1 million, 5 million and 10 million ruble denomination.
Pic. 6. FUTSSR, banknote of 500000 ruble denomination, 1923
At the end of 1923 the FUTSSR was restructured into Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (TSFSR) which issued the banknotes dated 1924.
In 1924 TSFSR issued 25, 50, 75, 100, 250 million and 1 billion ruble denominated banknotes.
Pic. 7. TSFSR, banknote of 1 billion ruble denomination, 1924
A USSR monetary reform in 1924 replaced all types of banknotes in circulation in Transcaucasia for the banknotes of unified samples of the Soviet Union.
More information related to the materials of this Section can be found from literature available in the Library of the Central Bank of Armenia:
- Y. T. Nercessian, Bank Notes of Armenia, Armenian Numismatic Society, Los Angeles, 1988
- П.Ф. Рябченко, Полный каталог бумажных денежных знаков и бон России, СССР, стран СНГ (1769-1994 гг.), Издательско-культурологический центр “София”, Киев, 1995
- Ռ. Վարդանյան, Գ. Մուղալյան, Ա. Վարդանյան, Ա. Զոհրաբյան, Հ. Հովհաննիսյան, Հայաստանի դրամաշրջանառության պատմությունը, Հայաստանի Հանրապետության կենտրոնական բանկ, Երևան, 2018
- А. Р. Тевотросян, Бумажные денежные знаки Армении, Авторское издание, Ереван, 2020