header Notes Collection

1 Ruble 1918, China

in Krause book Number: PS474
Years of issue: 15.12.1918 - середина 1920
Signatures: Управляющий КВЖД генерал Д.Л.Хорват, Управляющий Харбинским отделением банка (Контролер) П.К.Пименов, Председатель правления банка А.П.Путилов
Serie: No Serie
Specimen of: 15.12.1918
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 148 х 82
Printer: American Bank Note Company, New-York

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

1 Ruble 1918




1 Ruble 1918

Guilloches and patterns are all over the field of the note.

Denominations in numerals are right and left (near center) and in all corners. In words in center.


1 Ruble 1918


A riddle in clouds of steam.

In zoomed image of steam from under the wheels of the locomotive is obvious image of a female head. Regarding this figure there are several theories:

At first, it was thought, that in the steam of locomotive artist secretly portrayed a manager of Chinese Eastern Railway D.L. Horvath (1858-1937), who did not pay attention to this detail when put his signature. But apparently his head did not look like the head on the image in a pair of clubs.

Some believed, that an American artist painted his own portrait. However, it is unclear, why a living person placed under the wheels of the locomotive his head.

In Harbin lived a talented artist. The next day after the wedding, his bride was hit by a train, which beheaded her. The artist felt keenly this drama. When in 1918 began the work on the creation of banknotes for located in Harbin, Russian-Asiatic Bank, the artist took up the back side (reverse) of all denominations. Bank managers and General Horvath with his wife liked the examples and none of them noticed a woman's head with an open mouth in a scream in clubs under the wheels of locomotive. Originals have been sent to the United States. All the notes were engraved and an order was done.

There are different images of a woman in the clouds of steam on different denominations. But the tragic expression preserved everywhere.


On banknote is locomotive Series Ш (SH).

Ш (SH) - designation of a series of freight steam locomotives of the 1-4-0 type with a two-cylinder double expansion machine operating with saturated steam, with a driving wheel diameter D = 1,300 mm. Locomotives of this series were a further strengthening of the C series and were built from 1902 by the Bryansk and Kharkov plants for the former Vladikavkaz railway and the East China railway. etc. (История и классификация паровозов от А до Я .rus)

Denominations in numerals are right and left (near the center) and in all corners. In words lower in center.


This note was issued for use in Harbin, China, but interestingly denominated in Rubles. This was due to the large Russian influence over Manchuria at the time. Interestingly, this last version issued by the bank does not include any Chinese text.

Russian-Asian bank in Harbin had great difficulty in cash in August 1917 and issued a "transferable tickets" in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 3000 and 5000 rubles. totaling more than 1 million rubles., but relief of this issue has not given much. Transferable tickets were in circulation for three months. Reinforcements by Kerensky notes and Siberian obligations not hold much sway pas market and monetary crisis has affected the entire economic life of the region and the railway.

In mid-1918 Russian-Asiatic Bank in consultation with the Head office of the Chinese Eastern Railway decided to issue their own banknotes and ordered them from the "American Bank Note Company". Currency notes of denomination of 50 kopecks., 1, 3, 10 and 100 rubles. totaling 20 million rubles were made by the end of 1918 and reached the bank.

First notes were credited on the account in the bank office December 15-20, 1918. Harbin Rubles are accepted in payment of all fees of Chinese Eastern Railway by the bank without limitation, becoming a full-fledged monetary unit. The Bank has, at the request, a smooth flow of new notes on the "Kerensky notes" and, in limited quantities, on paper money "Romanov rubles". By 1920, the average exchange rate of the their ruble was 11 rubles per 1 ruble Romanov in gold, while the exchange rate of credit (paper) Romanov ruble was 10 rubles per 1 ruble in gold.

Banknotes were issued by Harbin branch of the bank in January 1919, widespread, readily accepted in the market and got the name between the local population "Croat" or "Horvatovskie". On the front side, except those signatures and denominations, were text: "Russian-Asiatic Bank. Harbin. Banknotes currently accepted at all ticket offices of Chinese Eastern Railway, as well as in the offices of the Russian-Asiatic Bank in Harbin, Hailar and Kuanchentszy, along with state banknotes samples in circulation, issued until 1917, inclusive. Forgery is punishable by law". On the reverse side were the locomotive. Notes were performed at a high level printing, high quality, which guaranteed them from fakes and were in high demand.


By the end of 1919 the railroad began to transfer its calculations on the foreign currency. Since the beginning of 1920 "horvatovki" are gradually withdrawn from circulation by the bank, but they still remained in circulation for some time, and quoted on the stock exchange. By mid-1920 the market lost interest in them.