Currency of Turkestan
The Turkestani currency unit is called the Som. The name “Som” derives from an old Central Asian name for the Russian roubles brought to Central Asia by the Tsarist Russian conquerors of the area. It is divided into 200 qapçıq, which name is a Turkicised version of “kopeck”.
1 Som = 200 qapçıq
- 1 Som = 600gr fine silver
- 1 qapçıq = 3gr fine silver (equivalent)
- Som: 6 2/5 to the mark of fine silver
Exchange rate of Som with selected world currencies:
|Currency||Som value in currency||Currency value in Som||Notes|
|Chinese Yuan||S1 = ¥4/120¢||¥1 = 48q|
|Ethiopian Birr||S1 = 14B 11g 12/3b||132/3q|
|EF Livre||S1 = 112½d||£1EF = S1/13⅓q|
|FK Pound||S1 = £0 6/6¼d approx.||£1FK = S3/13⅓q||1 qapçıq is almost exactly equivalent to 1 FK farthing|
|Henuan Pa'una||S1 = 11p 18v||P1 = S1/142/3q|
|Iraaqi Dinar||S1 = 12 dinar 10 dirham exactly||1 dinar = 16q exactly|
|Japanese Lò||S1 = 1 lò 10 xu 2 fun||1 lò = 1222/3q|
|Louisiannan Écu||S1 = 7d 8¢||€1 = S1/55½q|
|Lusoamerican Conto||S1 = 6Ŧ 8ð||¢1 = S3 exactly||1 Conto is worth exactly 3 Som|
|Persian Toman||S1 = ?||T1 = ?||Relationship of the Toman to other world currencies is unclear|
|RTC Talar||S1 = 3/40||1T = 60q|
|Russian New Rouble||S1 = R156½(n)||R1(n) = 1¼q||Tsarist & SNOR "Old" rouble was worth 1531/3q|
|Samrazj Rupee||S1 = 3r 2a||1r = 64q exactly|
|SR Riksdaler (SI Specie)||S1 = $1/30||$1 = 160q|
|Turkish Piastre||S1 = P6/0⅓p||P1 = 33¼q|
|Uygur Som||S1 = S1U/882/3 approx.||S1U = 115q|
Standard coin denominations are 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 qapçıq, and 1 Som, 2 Som and 3 Som. The 2 Som coin is rare, usually only used for "circulating commemoratives"; coins that are in circulation, but have a design commemorating some event or anniversary. The 2009 2-Som coin depicts the Boran jet fighter which came into service with the Turkestani Air Force that year. The reverse of a coin, by tradition, is the side bearing the coin's denominational value. In Snorist times, the obverse would bear the portrait or insignia of the Ilxan. The obverse of the 1 Som coin features a rolling design that changes every year on a 12 year cycle. It features the year animal for that year according to the Central Asian Calendar.
A note should be made about the Turkestani gold coins. Central Asian gold is noticeably reddish compared to gold mined elsewhere. Some nations (those that have circulating gold coinage) claim that this is a sign that Central Asian gold is less pure, and penalise Turkestan in their currencies' exchange rates with the Som. Official exchange rates are calculated according to their value in silver, however, which has a tendency to minimise this effect.
Banknotes come in the standard denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 Som. The current series of banknotes, first issued in 1999, are polymer banknotes, not paper, as was previously usual, and have a transparent "window" incorporated into the design as an added security measure. The different denominations are graded in size as the value increases. Previous banknotes (and coins) are still legal tender, and it is quite common to see old Snorist-era coins bearing the heads of the Snorist Ilxans of Turkestan, and there are not a few banknotes in circulation, too, especially from the Raza Ilxanate.
Standard denominations have remained remarkably consistent throughout Turkestan's somewhat turbulent history, though the exact shapes of the coins have varied. Mızar Aman Beğ-ulı half-Som (100q) coins, for example, were 4-sided gold coins with a bear-and-wolf design on the reverse along with the denomination.
Perhaps surprisingly given that Turkestan is a kind of monarchy, the reigning Ilxan Sultan Qasım-ulı does not appear on either the coins or the banknotes. This is a reaction among Turkestanis against the Snorist Ilxans, who placed their pictures and personal emblems on everything. The modern Ilxanate has exhibited a strong reticence to allow the monarch's image to be used in this way, and Turkestani currency does not feature any insignia personal to the current Ilxan.
Coin & Banknote Tables
|Denomination||Material||Obverse||Reverse||Shape||Value (gr fine silver)||Value (FK currency)|
|2q||Bronze||Stylised heads of grain||"2 qapçıq"||Round||6gr||~¾d|
|5q||Bronze||Atlas Moth||"5 qapçıq"||Round||15gr||~2d|
|10q||Brass||Marco Polo sheep||"10 qapçıq"||8-sided||30gr||~4d|
|25q||Silver||Horse's head||"25 qapçıq"||Round||75gr||~9¾d|
|50q||Silver||Dromedary camel||"50 qapçıq"||Round||150gr||~1s 7½d|
|100q||Silver||Eagle and Snow Leopard||Yurt smoke-hole; "100 qapçıq"||12-sided invected||300gr||~3s 3d|
|S1||Gold||Rolling year animal design||Sunburst; "1 Som"||4-sided||600gr||~6s 6¼d|
|S2||Gold||Commemorative||Golden Eagle in flight; "2 Som"||8-sided||1200gr||~13s ½d|
|S3||Gold||Timür on horseback||Stylised map of Turkestan; "3 Som"||18-sided invected||1800gr||~19s 6¾d|
|Denomination||Predominant Colour||Obverse||Reverse||Eq. value (gr)||Value (FK currency)|
|S1||Red||Qunqasıım Baı||Mount Xan-Täņri||600gr||~6s 6¼d|
|S3||Green||Timür||Registan Square||1800gr||~19s 6¾d|
|S5||Blue||Tamırıs||Yurt||3,000gr||~£1 12s 7¼d|
|S10||Brown||Mahmud Ğulam Xan||Buxaran telecom tower||6,000gr||~£3 5s 2½d|
|S25||Pink||Ismağul Samanı||Carpet-making||15,000gr||~£8 3s ½d|
|S50||Purple||Gülzipäş Apaı||Oil well||30,000gr||~£16 6s 1d|
|S100||Aquamarine||Ibrahim Enver||Map of Turkestan||60,000gr||~£32 12s 2d|
The Turkestani currency unit was the product of probably the most powerful and influential of the Qurultaı’s working groups. The Currency Committee was charged in the days following the successful Basmaçı Revolt with the creation of a new currency for Turkestan to replace the Russian rouble.
There were many challenges involved in this, mostly revolving around the conflict between patriotic feeling and sheer pragmatism. Many of the Committee’s members wanted to adopt a completely new currency scheme; to wipe the slate clean and begin anew with Turkestani design principles. One of the proposed currency schemes was a development of the old livestock equivalence charts of the Central Asian nomads. This proposal would have created a series of coins for “grain”, “sheep”, “cow”, “horse”, “camel” and “rifle”, together with multiples and fractions of each. In this system, 1 "sheep", for example, would have been equal to 5 "grain", and 1 "horse" would have been worth 100 "sheep".
Other proposals were more conservative: some wanted to essentially keep the old roubles under a new name, even pegging their currency unilaterally to that of Russia, while still others proposed other ideas.
The new currency unit eventually adopted, the Som, was something of a compromise. It was more conservative than some proposals, but would indeed result in an independent Turkestani currency.
The Som was pegged at a starting rate of 2:1 against the Rouble, but allowed to float freely. Immigrating Qazaqs from northern Qazaqstan were given a favourable exchange rate for their old roubles in order to encourage immigration and hopefully boost the long-term chances of reunification.
Having completed its task of creating the new currency, the Currency Committee found that its work was not done. Someone had to oversee the task of minting the new coins and ensuring purity and weight met the exacting specifications expected of a modern coinage. Thus, the Currency Committee found themselves becoming a bank. The National Bank of Turkestan is not, however, a lending institution. Its responsibility is the Som, purely and simply. It is the Turkestan National Bank, for example, that is charged with the minting of coins and the printing of banknotes. The National Bank also has the responsibilities of setting interest rates and overseeing the Som in the international currency market.