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The Miracle of International Shipping

John Conduitt

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As coin collectors, we’re well-versed in logistics. We buy from all over the world and know more than we’d like about customs paperwork, freight forwarding and international antiquity ownership laws. But much of the time, it works well. I’ll never cease to be amazed at how I can order coins from Canada and have them land on my doormat in Britain a couple of days later for the price of a beer. Sometimes, it’s even more impressive.

Said Ahmad II Dang, 1427-1428

Haydar Bek Bazar. Silver, 15mm, 0.69g. Central circle: Said Ahmad Khan; Circular legend: Supreme Sultan. Tamga with legend around, starting at 2 o’clock: Haydar Bazaar Mint (Zayonchkovskiy-Tishkin SP5; A2063). Haydar Bek Bazar was named after Khongirad Haydar-bek, son-in-law of Ulugh Muhammad Khan, who he betrayed to put Said-Ahmad II on the throne.

These somewhat battered Golden Horde dangs are proof that a coin’s history goes far beyond its short time in circulation. The Golden Horde ruled lands from Eastern Europe to Russia, but as their empire disintegrated, their dirhams deteriorated in quality. Nearly 600 years later, these coins were found not far from where they were struck. I bought them from a seller in Dnipro. Shipping was USD10 and they arrived 25 days later.

Ahmed Dang, 1436-1442

Hajii Tarkhan. Silver, 14mm, 0.76g. Sultan / The Just / Ahmad / Khan. Tamga; around: struck at Hajii Tarkhan (Sagdeeva 603). Hajji Tarkhan was on the right bank of the Volga.

That doesn’t sound miraculous until you look for Dnipro on a map. It’s in Ukraine, 200 miles northeast of Kherson and 50 miles west of the Donbas. Kherson was liberated just 3 months ago, while the Donbas is under Russian occupation. The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station is halfway between Dnipro and Kherson, and under Russian control. The seller used to live further east – where the train station was destroyed by missiles.

It’s one thing to have to wait for the effects of strikes, Covid, computer hacks and over-zealous customs officials to wear off, but when the country’s infrastructure has been pummelled in war, it’s amazing it’s possible to buy coins at all. Their story marches on.

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I buy food etc from Ukraine all the time.  For awhile last year shipping could take up to three months.  For some groceries we are having to make stuff from scratch, like drinks we used to buy cannot get anymore.  We can get basic ingredients for many grocery items but some like flour are not the same and stuff doesn't turn out the same.  



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