ARMENIAN SSR 5000 roubles 1921


RUSSIA, ARMENIAN SSR, 5000 roubles, 1921, P-S679, AU

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During the Civil War period hundreds of local administrations issued thousands of local banknotes. The general feeling was they had to do something. If they didn’t people would just be scribbling IOUs to each other.

Russia started making paper money in the 18th century. Generally speaking, during the Empire the relationship of paper to gold was, shall we say, fraught. There was a great outpouring of local notes during the Revolution and the Civil War, and again in the last years of the Soviet Union and a few years after.

For organizational purposes, banknote collectors tend to make a distinction between national issues and local issues. The Standard Catalog of World Paper Money has a volume dedicated to “specialized” issues, where about 20,000 items are listed. A “complete” catalog would likely have at least 10 times that number. The Standard Catalog numbers for “specialized” notes are designated P-S. There are special catalogs for various series such as German and Austrian notgeld, former Soviet Union, etc.

Paper money, meaning the promise of a government to pay a set amount, and the paper promise allowed to circulate at will, was probably first used in China in the 12th century AD. At that time the merchants and governments of Europe were just writing letters to each other about what they owed.