The dram (դրամ; sign: ֏; code: AMD) is the monetary unit of Armenia and the neighboring unrecognized Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). It was historically subdivided into 100 luma (լումա). The word "dram" translates into English as "money" and is cognate with the Greek drachma and the Arabic dirham, as well as the English weight unit dram. The first instance of a dram currency was in the period from 1199 to 1375, when silver coins called dram were issued.
On 21 September 1991, a national referendum proclaimed Armenia as a republic independent from the Soviet Union. The Central Bank of Armenia, established on 27 March 1993, was given the exclusive right of issuing the national currency.
In the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union attempts were made to maintain a common currency (the Russian ruble) among CIS states. Armenia joined this ruble zone. However it soon became clear that maintaining a currency union in the unstable political and economical circumstances of the post-Soviet states would be very difficult. The ruble zone effectively collapsed with the unilateral monetary reform in Russia, 1993. As result the states that were still participating (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Moldova, Armenia and Georgia) were 'pushed out' and forced to introduce separate currencies. Armenia was one of the last countries to do so when it introduced the dram on 22 November 1993.
After its proclamation of independence, Armenia put into circulation its own national currency, the Armenian Dram; this required a monetary sign. As the result of common business practice and the unique pattern of Armenian letters, the shape of the sign and its variations appeared in the business scratches (daybooks). Until the official endorsement of the sign a number of artists and businessmen developed and offered various shapes for it. Now the dram symbol is included in the Armenian standard for the national characters and symbols and in the Armenian computer fonts. The current standard sign for the Armenian dram (֏, image: ; Դրամ; code: AMD) was designed in 1995. In Unicode, it is encoded at.
In 1994, a first series of aluminium coins was introduced in denominations of 10, 20 and 50 luma, 1, 3, 5 and 10 dram. In 2003 and 2004, a second series consisting of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 dram coins was introduced to replace the first series.
The Central Bank has also issued a great number of commemorative coins intended for sale to collectors. A listing can be found at the authorized central bank distributors.
In 1994, a first series of aluminium coins was introduced in denominations of 10, 20 and 50 luma, 1, 3, 5 and 10 dram. At present only the 10 dram coin is still in use. The other coins are officially in circulation but not really used because of their low nominal value.
* All coins bear the year of the first issue (1994).