The tenge, Kazakh national currency, turns 29: November 15, 2022, 1:10 p.m.


ASTANA. KAZINFORM The tenge, the national currency of Kazakhstan, turns 29 on November 15. More information about the history of tenge and its design can be found in the latest Kazinform article.

The national currency of Kazakhstan, the tenge, was introduced on November 15, 1993. The National Bank of Kazakhstan is the sole issuer of the national currency on the territory of the country.

What is the history of tenge?

The introduction of the national currency was preceded by events related to the difficulties of monetary circulation of the former Soviet republics. In July 1993, the Central Bank of Russia carried out a currency reform, removing Soviet rubles from circulation and exchanging them for new Russian banknotes.

With the collapse of the former ruble zone, the flow of Soviet rubles poured into the former Soviet republics, including Kazakhstan. Prices soared and the currency depreciated, leading to hyperinflation and lower living standards for people.

The decision to introduce its own national currency became key for the young country in its transition to a new stage of economic development.

On November 3, 1993, the first president Nursultan Nazarbayev issued a decree to create a state commission for the introduction of the national currency. It included members of the government and the president of the National Bank. This was preceded by months of work by a group of artists – Timur Suleimenov, Agimsaly Duzelkhanov, Khayrolla Gabzhalilov and Mendybay Alin.

The name of the Kazakh currency was also not chosen immediately. The commission had several options to choose from, including ‘aksha’ (silver), ‘altyn’ (gold), ‘som’ (pure) and ‘sum’ (pure). The “Tenge” option was finally chosen, it is formed from the words “dengue” and “tanga”, which are the names of small Turkish coins.

Approving the name, design and size was one task, but the impression was another. Because Kazakhstan at that time did not have its own factory, the first banknotes in denominations of one to 100 tenge were printed by the London factory Harrison & Sons.

All work was carried out in the greatest secrecy to avoid the dissemination of information and subsequent speculation related to the circulation of money.

To store the first batch of silver, special underground warehouses were prepared. The first batches of tickets were delivered by direct flights from London to Kazakhstan by four Il-76 aircraft, which made 18 return flights to London in one week.

It took only eight days for Kazakhstan to deliver the newly printed banknotes to all banks in the country.

The decree introducing the tenge was signed on November 15, 1993, and at the time of the introduction of the tenge the exchange rate was 1 tenge for 500 rubles (4.75 tenge for 1 dollar).

The first banknotes depicted important personalities of Kazakhstan such as Abu Nasr Al-Farabi, Suyunbai Aronuly, Kurmangazy, Shokan Ualikhanov, Abai Kunanbayev, Abulkhair khan and Abylai khan.

tenge design

Over the years, the design of tenge banknotes has been changed several times. One of the milestones was in 2006, when the National Bank of Kazakhstan held a competition to draw the tenge symbol. The winner was chosen from 30,000 options.

In 2006, the decision was also made to introduce new banknotes with denominations from 200 to 10,000 tenge: the design on one side was printed vertically, and on the other – horizontally. Another significant change was to eliminate portraits of specific personalities from banknotes, instead they were replaced with monuments of architecture and nature in Kazakhstan.

Currency of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan Mint of the National is an official coin maker of Kazakhstan. It was opened in Ust-Kamenogorsk in 1998, before that common coins were minted in Germany.

The company uses all production methods, including casting, rolling, stamping, cutting and applying numerous coatings.

“The technology is the minting of coins with subsequent artistic processing. For this, we use enamelling, selective gilding and antique oxidation. Gemstones can be inserted into the products, which turn the medal or coin into a work of art. Pad printing and digital printing are also used for decorative purposes. And the presence of an accredited laboratory for the examination of precious metals guarantees the quality and purity of precious metals, which are used for the production of coins and other products of the Mint of Kazakhstan,” it reads. in the release of the country’s Mint.

Specialists also use technologies such as microtext, milled edge, edge lettering and hidden holographic image to protect against counterfeiting.

Each stamp can strike from 5 to 30 coins on average.

“The design of the piece is first drawn on a computer. Then it all comes down to the sculptor, who makes a plaster model. Then the silicone is poured, so you can always duplicate it in case of breakage, thanks to a scanner and equipment. And all this is already digitally transferred to a steel matrix,” said Almat Basenov, chief designer of the National Bank.

At each stage, everything is very carefully processed and engraved. Small scratches and all defects are removed.

Surprisingly, there is strong competition between currencies of countries around the world in terms of design and production technology.

For example, the Mint of Kazakhstan was the first in the world to use tantalum, a rare earth metal, which does not exist in a pure state in nature.

“At the same time, it is actively used in the aerospace field. But no country in the world uses it for the production of coins, because it is hyper-elastic and its application is technologically complicated. For example, due to its softness and elasticity, it sticks to the stamping tool. There are many other nuances to consider when using tantalum,” Basenov said.

For Kazakhstan, it was when the idea matched the available technology. The decision to try tantalum in the production of coins was taken as the country developed the theme of space exploration. The fact that this metal is produced at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Ust-Kamenogorsk just made the task easier.

Different types of parts

The National Bank of Kazakhstan issues coins of the national currency of three types: circulation, bullion and collector coins.

Circulation coins are made of base metal alloys and are intended for everyday use by people.

Bullion coins (bullion coins) are made of the highest quality precious metals (gold and silver) and are designed to preserve and increase funds. Their profitability depends on the cost and weight of the metal.

Collector coins are made in small quantities of precious (gold and silver) and non-precious (cupronickel and nickel silver) metals. They are intended for the collection and development of the (secondary) numismatic market. Some are dedicated to memorable anniversaries and dates, as well as historical events, including the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s membership in the United Nations and in honor of Talgat Begeldinov and Manshuk Mametova, as well as Akhmet Baitursynov and Mukhtar Auezov.

“There are several reasons that explain the value of a gift in coins. For example, any one of them is a gift of increasing value. When you give a coin from any series as a gift, you can be assured that its value will only increase every year. The point is that each number has a draw, which cannot be increased beyond the stated amount for any reason,” Basenov explained.

If the National Bank of Kazakhstan declares 3,000 coins of a type, numismatists will want to get at least one of the 3,000 coins in their collection.

“Those who have it, know it, offer it on the market at a price well above its original value,” he added.

In the event that the mintage is over-issued or increased from the stated mintage, collectors will not be able to determine how many times a coin’s price may increase and whether it is worth considering as a mintage. investment opportunity. Basenov called it a “delicate subject”.

Indeed, national currencies are not only means of transactions. They can tell a bigger story about a nation. Currency and coins are part of a country’s image, conveying a piece of history and culture to the world.

Written by Assel Satubaldina

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