top of page

Small Notes Of Independent Kazakhstan: 20 Tyin (Kazakstan, 1993)-Article

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

This colorful Kazakh banknote represents the 5th denomination of the Tenge (First Series, 1993). The Tenge was adopted in 1993, replacing the previous Soviet Ruble. Which continued to remain in circulation after the fall of the Soviet Union (1922-1991). It form the basis for a short-lived monetary union known as Ruble Zone. Which collapsed in July 1993, when Russia left the Ruble Zone.

This event lead to Kazakhstan to rapidly adopt a new currency in it's place. On 12 November 1993 President Nursultan Nazarbayev decreed the introduction of a new national currency. On 15 November 1993 the Tenge was formally adopted. This day is celebrated as "Day of National Currency of Republic of Kazakhstan". The exchange rate was set at 500 Soviet Rubles = 1 Tenge.

Notably until 2012, the Tenge was sub-divided into 100 Tyin. This unit was de-facto abolished with the demonetization of Tyin denominated coins. The note below represented a stop-gap for Tyin denominated coins. Which didn't (despite being marked 1993) enter circulation until 1 March 1994. All Tyin denominated banknotes were demonetized in 2001.


The observe is highly ornate, based on traditional Turkic art styles. Unlike previous Tyin notes, this denomination draws more from Sogian influence. The "hooked swan" pattern at the lower border represents the perpetuity of nature. There is some barely visible micro text, in Cyrillic script. Seen as pair of thin black-inked bands, running the note's length. On close inspection they are presumed to read "ҚАЗАҚСТАН ҰЛТТЫҚ БАНКІ" (trans. National Bank of Kazakhstan), in sequence.

This presumption is based on banknotes tendency to include micro text. Which often list the note's issuing body and/or value. Through process of elimination the faint text seems to repeat the note's header, "National Bank of Kazakhstan". Rather than its "ЖИЫРМА ТИЫН" (trans. Twenty Tyin) value. Which is reinforced by small ornate number "20"s, located at the upper-left, upper-right, and lower-right corners.

Moving toward the note's center we see the text, repeating the note's "Twenty Tyin" value. The note's print date "1993" can be seen directly below. To the right is a large number "20", on an equally ornate backing. This backing has significant symbolic value, as it represents the interior of a yurt. The traditional home used by various Central Asian nomads.

Yurt symbolism is referenced by the the Kazakh and Kyrgyz Coat of Arms. Additionally it can be seen referenced by Kyrgyz Tyin notes. Which notably served a similar role to their Kazakh counterpart. Completing the observe is the note's serial number (ДВ 5298748). This vertical serial number is read by combining the batch letters (ДВ) on the lower left.

As a final note, the positioning of the serial number may vary. The serial number position can alternate from the lower or upper left. In regards to the 1 Tyin and 2 Tyin notes, this can affect note rarity. As this feature can also be combine with a "snowflake" or "diamond" watermark. The rarest type being notes with a lower left serial number and uniquely no watermark.

From the 5 Tyin note onward all notes (5-50 Tyin) feature only a "snowflake" watermark. The only variation between these notes being the position of their serial number. This particular note features a lower left serial number and "snowflake" watermark.

This example of the Kazakh 20 Tyin faintly displays a "Snowflake" watermark.
Example: 20 Tyin "snowflake" watermark.


The reverse prominently features the pre-2018 Kazakh Coat of Arms, at the center left. This Coat of Arms features a pair of Tulpar (winged horses), a Turkic equivalent of the Greek Pegasus. The symbol mounted between them is a Shańyraq, the wooden crown of the yurt. A symbol of cultural strength and heritage, throughout the Central Asian steppes.

Notably the Cyrillic text along the lower edge reads "ҚA3AҚCTAH" (trans. Kazakhstan). On 1 November 2018, this text was modified into Latin script as "QAZAQSTAN". Although not seen in this example, the official Kazakh Coat of Arms is gold and sky blue (aquamarine). With gold representing a bright, clear future for the Kazakh people. While blue symbolically represents the vast skies of the steppe and an aspiration for peace.

To the center left listing the note's "Twenty Tyin" value. Unlike the observe this is reinforced by number "20"s on all 4 corners. The micro text seen on the observe is also absent. Another notable difference from the observe, is the floral pattern on the lower border. The general the theme for the reverse is flowers, in contrast to the birds seen on the observe.

1993 First Tenge Gallery

(Gallery contains only banknotes within the database)


Additional Notes

  • This note's dimensions are 102 x 65 mm or 4.02 x 2.56 in, smaller than a standard US Dollar.

  • The Kazakhstani Tenge's ISO Code is KZT, its currency symbol is .

  • The preferred method to preserve this note are standard sized side opening sleeves, cut to size.

  • The First Tyin and Tenge denominated notes were printed by Harrison and Sons, London.

  • Tyin denominated notes are well suited for beginner collectors, with an interest in the former Soviet Union.

  • Tyin denominated notes are color-coded, making documentation fairly easy, for inexperienced collectors.

  • The majority of Tyin notes are easy to purchase, with the exception of the rarer 20 and 50 Tyin.

  • From 1994-2003 the Series 1993 was supplemented by 6 additional notes ranging from 200-10,000 Tenge.

  • All notes from the supplemented Series 1993 were demonetized from 2012-2018.

  • All supplemental notes feature a portrait of philosopher Al-Farabi (872-950 CE).

  • With the exception of the 10,000 Tenge, all supplemental notes feature Hodja Ahmed Yassavi mausoleum on their reverse.

  • The 10,000 Tenge (2003) features an endangered Snow Leopard on its reverse.

  • The ancient Persian region of Sogdiana was located within the modern nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

  • Sogdian artwork has a major influence in Central Asia, in the form of pre-Islamic motifs.

9 views0 comments
bottom of page