1 Tenali 1953 Hand numbered/100 issued
2 Tenali 1953 Hand numbered/100 issued
5 Tenali 1953 Hand numbered/100 issued
10 Tenali 1953 Hand numbered/100 issued
1/8 Tenali 1972 Hand Numbered/100 issued
2 Tenali 1972 Hand Numbered/100 issued
3 Tenali 1972 Hand Numbered/100 issued
20 Tenali 1972 Hand Numbered/100 issued
30 Tenali 1972 Hand Numbered/100 issued
50 Tenali 1972 Hand Numbered/100 issued
100 Tenali 1972 Hand Numbered/100 issued
150 Tenali 1972 Hand Numbered/100 issued
250 Tenali 1972 Hand Numbered/100 issued
500 Tenali 1972 Hand Numbered/100 issued
1,000 Tenali 1972 Hand Numbered/100 issued


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(click image for larger view)


Kerduka is a small self governing area located high in the mountains of Europe.  It is a quiet, isolated place with a pastoral lifestyle.  Agriculture has always been the mainstay of the people.  The name, Kerduka, loosely translates as one who tends animals.


Much like Andorra, the country has attained independence from foreign rule by annual gifts to the nearby government entities.  In essence, the token payment is a gesture that is seen as a peace offering that allowed Kerduka it's level of independence.  Today, it remains as a tradition.


Possibly due to isolation, Kerduka developed it's own language which is still spoken by the local population.  It is preserved and practiced as a binding of a people through their rich heritage and culture.  Their lifestyle is much as it was in decades past.  One might say the clock that chimes the time in Kerduka moves much slower than the rest of the world.


What few single lane gravel roads weave on over the mountains to the country are not so much for vehicular traffic but roadways to get product to nearby communities.  Gravel roads end at both communities.  Many foot trails exist, going from pasture to pasture.


Commerce is less traditional inside the country where a cultural obligation that a small group of people need to aid one another and meet their needs over and above the need for cash. 


While Kerduka is isolated, services that might be required can be reached in larger population centers not many miles from the country.


In short, there are two 'communities' in Kerduka.  All the buildings are made of local materials, rock, and are solid, well built and have stood the test of time.  Most are well over 100 years old.  Most now have metal roofs.


Most of the terrain is mountainous and quite rocky but relief is found in fields and pastures with good soils.  The scenery is both breathtaking and rugged.  Snow and cold temperatures dominate the winter months.  Because of the elevation, winters are longer.  At times heavy snows can cut off the area from the outside world for weeks.


Kerdukans have carved out a living raising cattle and goats.  Large gardens provide local produce.  Today there is a beekeeper.  Kerdukan cheese and goat milk soap and fleece are the main trade items.


Like many such places the population has dwindled.  At one time almost 700 people lived in Kerduka as late as the mid-19th century.  By the 20th century, the population was under 500.  After World War II only about 100 remained.  Today Kerduka, covering 29.56 square miles, has a population of 80.  The population is centered in two villages with 55 inhabitants in 23 homes and 25 people in 16 homes.  Only 4 homes are outside the villages yet are included as part of one village or the other. 


Each community has its own church and both have a barn that serves as a community gather spot.  There are no formal businesses but almost every household has some product they sell to earn income, typically a surplus over the household's need. 


Every year at the time of harvest after the cattle has returned from summer grazing in the mountains, the annual festival begins.  While centered around the church, the festival is 4 to 5 days in length with various feasts, church services, singing of songs that are culturally significant, a bit of dancing, cheese sampling, a few plays and skits and a honoring of the Kerdukan way of life.  Over the years, word has leaked out about the festival and today several hundred come to experience the festival hosted by the larger southern village. 


It might be interesting to note that neither village has a name.  As all Kerdukans know one another, to identify a community is not essential.  At best, one might refer to the north or south to designate the village.


In the southern village, the larger of the two, is a town clock that chimes every 30 minutes throughout the day.  A special morning chime acts as a village alarm clock followed by a certain bell ringing for the morning church service.  Lunch signals a certain chime at the noon hour.  An evening vespers chiming is later followed by the final special chiming to signal the end of the day around 10 in the evening.  The chimes can be heard throughout the valley.


Kerdukans are Christians and very active with their church.  Short morning and evening worship is held daily as is the customary formal worship on Sundays.  Most everyone in the village attends daily.  This is the case for both villages.  Naturally, during summer months some miss the gatherings tending to their animals or being away from the villages.  The faith is similar to Catholic beliefs but Luther had a great influence with many marks of the Lutheran faith evident.  There is a small group of six men who identify themselves as monks, dedicated to the religious health of the country.  These 'religious caretakers' clearly do not fit the definition of a monk as defined by other religious faiths. 


Economically, the annual festival is a boon to Kerduka.  This is when the country is infused with outside monies.  Much of the non-traditional income is made in this time.  Traditional income is from the agricultural products sold to area merchants.

Kerdukan government is loose.  Each village has a board elected by popular consensus.  While each board is independent in their decisions, matters of national importance are decided by each board voting their decision with majority rule prevailing.  Typically once a common decision is made, both boards establish a plan sensitive to the needs of each community.  In the 'Kerdukan way' it is expected that needs of all shall be met with a minimum of hardship on anyone.  A popular vote is typically modified to accomplish this. 


Education is seen as the function of the church, tended to by the religious men of the nation.  A full general education is taught at the church by the men.  Much attention is paid to agriculture and care of livestock as well as knowledge related to working a farm or tending livestock. Many consider it a well rounded general education noting that education is not uniform but rather adapted for the aptitude and abilities of the student.  Kerdukan history, culture and traditions are taught.


The 'Kerdukan Way' is a code of conduct and thinking that is esteemed as the reasoning for unity, survival and life in Kerduka.  It is local wisdom, so to speak.  There are certain ways for dealing with certain situations in everyday life in Kerduka.  While not compulsory, the 'Kerdukan Way' is a detailed list of conduct taught to all children to enable such a small community to thrive and simply get along well together.  It has such significant importance to the Kerdukan, it is considered the key to survival. As a peace loving group, the 'Kerdukan Way' tends to lessen rifts and make sure everyone has enough.  Even the annual gift to outside authorities is a 'Kerdukan Way' seen as an outward token of appreciation for their freedom from occupation.


The 'Kerdukan Way' is not such a foreign concept.  Society in general has many such 'saying' that help to create uniformity.  For example, 'it is better to give than to receive'; 'sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you' and 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you'. 


While Kerdukan homes are plumbed and have electricity, the cost of living is very low.  None of the homes have a mortgage.  People do not own cars.  When one removes such expenses, one can get by on much less money.  Taxes are merely token amounts as communities tend to needed services collectively and education does not require direct funding (the needs of the religious men is done by families contributing to the six men to sustain them at the same level as the remainder of the population).  Kerdukan do pay for medical needs through a collective developed by the combined village boards.  Even so, Kerdukans are a healthy bunch.





Over the decades Kerduka has created currency specifically for sale to collectors outside the country.  The general thinking is this infuses the country with foreign currency.  The realization that Kerdukan money can vary in value by the annual output of the people, other currencies are seen as more stable and constant.  In selling to collectors, Kerdukan money has seen big swings in value based on currency in circulation.


In more recent years, the attitude is to sell more currency outside Kerduka. It has been a popular novelty.  It has also made Kerdukan money much of its buying power.  While the only legal tender in Kerduka is the Tenali, a rule set by Kerdukan tradition, the value of the Tenali is at its lowest point, although stable.  The making of more money can occur at any time the boards choose.  There is a consideration of the current economic output as a guide to the quantity made.


From the best sources we can locate, the US Dollar, as of this writing, will purchase 298,445 Tenali.  Per the figures seen, the money supply is approximately 13.3% of the total economy.  Since money 'turns over' rapidly (passing from consumer to merchant to wholesaler and raw product producer as well as others), this is considered to be a high figure.


A fairly recent reform of the currency, new denominations were set and older notes ordered destroyed and no longer accepted.  Old denominations began at 1/4 Tenali ending at 1,000 Tenali.  At one point, this older Tenali exchange rate reached 1,021 per US Dollar.  Those rates have varied widely from about 12 or 13 to a US Dollar to over 2,000 to a US Dollar mostly due to the number of notes in circulation and being made for collectors.   There seemed to be a lack of knowledge of how currency is valued beyond its borders.  Since most transactions are for products and materials, this is more understandable.


Today Kerduka issues Tenali in 1, 3, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 300, 500, 1,000, 2,500, 5,000, 10,000, 50,000, 100,000 and 500,000.  The 500,000 note is worth around $1.675 US Dollars.    


These new notes are regulated by the estimated output following the annual festival.  The estimated value of the economy for that years determines the amount of Kerdukan money allowed in circulation including outside the country.  This has offered reasonable stability to the currency although the Tenali's value is so low.  This regulation was enacted with the new denominations.


One would think lower values of Kerdukan money would never circulate, however, as is the 'Kerdukan Way', local purchases among countrymen generally are around 10% of actual value.  In many respects this is a natural concept.  If one thinks of the cowrie shell when used as a currency, the lowest value was where the cowrie shell was harvested and the further one got from that place, the value of the cowrie shell climbed.  The price commanded for cheese or milk, for example, is less where it is made than further from it's starting point.


Even so, Kerdukans carry wads of cash to make local purchases although most of these are for everyday purchases.  This would be akin to buying a cup of coffee, a carton of milk or a loaf of bread. 


Kerdukan money has always been very primitive in nature, simply created to function as money, not for beauty.  The handmade nature offers a lack of uniformity normally found in currency.  We understand a small coin for 1 Tenali exists, Kerdukan money is typically paper currency.  It has no measures to counter counterfeiting simply, in our opinion, because such an act is beyond the more innocent thinking of the people.  The low value against other currencies assures its authenticity.


I must point out Kerdukan currency is typically not uniform in basic design, dating and such.  Even the paper is more 'what we have on hand'.  In such a small place of few people, such uniformity is not viewed as very important.  Since currency only circulates in Kerduka, this is not an issue.  






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