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Total commemorative banknotes issued is under 1,500 pieces. If you have achieved any figures close to this, then you are doing extremely well, as many of the older commemorative notes are hard to find even in poor conditions.

Opinion: Many collectors of commemorative banknotes would have come across with those Somaliland sets overprinted with gold and silver texts with the following wordings - 5th Anniversary of Independence 18 May 1996 [Sanad Gurade 5ee Gobanimadda 18 May 1996]. I believe these are "home made" (or fake) and not authorised by the central bank. My argument is simple. No central bank would have issued an overprint commemorative banknote that the texts are so large that it would cover the two signatures on the note as well as part of the serial numbers. Even if these are genuine notes, then these could be issued as souvenir sheets and not as legal tender. As I said before, this is my opinion. If you have paid top dollars for these, please think about my argument. There is always a sucker around the corner, including me of course!

All comments are most welcome but it has to be subjects related to banknotes or banknotes collection. If not, it will not be approved. Thanks

01 September 2023

...Azerbaijan - 500 Manat 2021 Commemorative Banknote First Anniversary Of The Victory Of The 44-Day Patriotic War of 2020

Azərbaycan Respublikası
(Republic of Azerbaijan)

Azərbaycan Respublikasının Mərkəzi Bankı
(Central Bank Of The Republic of Azerbaijan)
Currency - Manat (AZN)

Almost every country on earth has some form of territory disputes with their neighbours, be it simply a strip of small land, naturally formed islands (deltas) created by the flow of water of a river that eventually formed part of an international boundary for two countries or claim of waterways rights etc. This note was issued as a result of a long territory dispute between the two countries of Azerbaijan and Armenia over a region called Nagorno-Karabakh, which is located within the territory of Azerbaijan. This land disputed have been going on as early as 1988 during the Soviet era.
Azerbaijan was once formed part of the Soviet Union empire until it proclaimed independent on 30.08.1991, following the collapsed of the Soviet Union empire. Azerbaijan was occupied by the Soviet Union since 1922, and was then called Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.
The country of Azerbaijan is situated in northwest part of Asia, sharing a common boarder with Russia in the north, Georgia in the northwest, Armenia in the west and Iran to the south. To the west is the Caspian sea. The country is also split into two parts with Armenia in between. Azerbaijan is rich in oil and natural gas, and it's Manat currency may not be one of those strongest in the international market, but it is still worth more than 50 US cents to one manat.
Nagorno-Karabakh is situated on the western side of Azerbaijan but is not sharing a common boundary with Armenia. It is actually surrounded by Azerbaijan (landlocked). The disputed area has a total land area of 1,700 sq miles, and an estimated population of 150,000. The dispute first started as early as in 1988, when the Karabakh Armenians demanded the transfer of Karabakh from Soviet Azerbaijan to Soviet Armenia. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, the region of Nagorno-Karabakh became a disputed territory between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and both fought a brief war over it, which ended in 1994. Internationally, this region is recognised as part of Azerbaijan. Despite this, Nagorno-Karabakh is governed by a pro Armenia group, and called the region, the Republic of Artsakh. Majority of the people living in this disputed region associated themselves as Armenians.

On 27.09.2020, conflicts erupted again, and both Azerbaijan and Armenia went to war which let to Azerbaijan making significant gains on the disputed territory. Fighting ended on 10.11.2020, when a ceasefire agreement was signed by the President of Azerbaijan, and the Prime Minister of Armenia. The war lasted for 44 days and this conflict is known as Second Nagorno-Karabakh War or the 44-day War or Patriotic War or Second Karabakh War. Peacekeeping forces were then deployed to the region on 01.12.2020.  In today's international diplomacy, seldom that you will find a country fighting a war solely on its own ability. One way or the other, there are always third parties involvement, and in this case, Turkey provided military support to assist the Azerbaijanis in this conflict, and I understand that the Russians supported Armenia too.

Without going further into the details in this unfortunate dispute, Azerbaijan issued a banknote of 500 manat on 04.11.2021, celebrating the first anniversary of the ceased fire of the conflict, and declared a victory day for Azerbaijan for the liberation of the Karabakh region.

In my opinion, this is a high value note with a face value of approximately US$295+/-. The design of this note is completely new. Unlike those normal issues, there are no signatures printed on this note.
Five Hundred Manat

Front - On the front it depicts presumably two solders holding up the Azerbaijan national flag, tulips, image of Khodaafar/Khodaafarin stone bridge. The bridge is built across the Aras River and is located at the border of south of Azerbaijan and Iran. This is a 15-span bridge built in the 12th century, and was once located on the historical Silk Road to China. The following text (quote and logo & date) are printed in red and green in the front and back in bold to celebrate this issue; -

 (Qarabag/Karabakh is Azerbaijian! Ilham Aliyev*)
(8 November Victoria Day)
 *Ilham Heydar Oghlu Aliyev is the 4th and current President of Azerbaijan, since 31.10.2003.
Signature - None
Watermark - Coat of Arms and electrotype 500
Quantity - 1 million pieces
Dimensions - 165mm x 71mm
Back - On the back is the Mausoleum of Molla Pamah Vagif (Poet b.1717-1797), which is located in Shusha in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. This mausoleum was built in 1982 and was badly damaged during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War in the 1990s. Restoration work was then carried out by the Azerbaijani government in early 2021 and was completed in August 2021. To the left is the Askeran fortress. The Askeran fortress is also located in the Nagorno-Karabakh region as well. On top of the note is the outline map of Azerbaijan, with the Nagorno-Karabakh region shaded as part of Azerbaijan's territory (all in one grey colour). The back of this note is printed in a vertical format. This note is printed with the year date of 2021.

Footnote: -
There are no winners in any conflicts, but only losers. Since 1945, there are very few banknotes issued to celebrate a territory dispute between two neighbouring countries, and I am excluding all the banknotes that have been issued to commemorate the end of the last great war. No doubt, there were banknotes issued to commemorate the end of specific conflicts, and many of these were issued in the Latin America (mainly against the Spanish rule or some specific battles fought against the Spanish army), and some in Europe too. Sri Lanka in 2009 released a 1000 rupees commemorative note, celebrating the end of its civil war against the Tamil Tiger, which started in 1983 and ended in 2009. North Vietnam had also issued banknotes showing their fighting spirit during the Vietnam war and Cambodia too released banknotes with a similar theme as well. Most recently, Ukrainian also released one remembering the ongoing conflict with the Russians.

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