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A nice Samanid bronze of Nasr II b. Ahmad


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Samanids. Bukhara mint. AE fals (26 mm, 4.06 g). Nasr II b. Ahmad (914-943 CE), dated 305 AH (917 CE). Album 1452. This coin: Purchased from Ken Dorney, October 2023.

The Samanids were a dynasty, originally of Persian origin, who ruled a large territory in eastern Persia, Afghanistan, and Central Asia from 817 to 999 CE. While they were effectively independent, they officially claimed allegiance to the Caliphate in Baghdad and continued to send annual tribute. They were major proponents of Persian literature and culture, and their capital city of Bukhara (in what is now Uzbekistan) was perhaps the second greatest in the Muslim world at the time, behind only Baghdad. Nasr II was the son of the ruler Ahmad Samani, and took over the throne when his father was murdered in 914. As Nasr was just eight years old at the time, he was initially merely a figurehead for his prime minister, who fortunately was both highly competent and loyal. His early years saw a number of rebellions that were quickly crushed, and later in his reign Nasr would add additional territory at the expense of smaller neighboring states. In 943, a conspiracy of army officers was formed against Nasr due to his support of Isma'ili ("Sevener") Shia missionaries. Nasr's son, Nuh, learned of the conspiracy and executed its leader; however, he then persuaded his father to abdicate the throne in favor of Nuh. Nasr died of tuberculosis a few months after abdicating, which sounds suspicious to me, but that's what the history books say, so who am I to argue? At the end of the 10th century, the Samanids were defeated and their territory divided between the Ilak Khans and the Ghaznavids.

Samanid coinage is best known for their large (40-45 mm diameter) silver multiple dirhams. These were presumably struck to use the output of the many silver mines found in Samanid territory. However, their bronze coinage is also abundant, and is usually well-struck and centered, making for attractive coins. This coin was on sale for just $24, which I'd say is a very good deal for a thousand-year-old bronze showing this much attractive detail, and which is linked to an interesting history. Please share your Samanid coins.

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Wow.  I was wholly unacquainted with the bronze coins, never mind the really remarkable history.  Thanks to both of you, @Parthicus and @Sulla80 for some serious horizon-broadening.  

...Well, okay, in context, this is frankly embarrassing, but I'll come clean anyway.  I've only collected Samanid in reference to the Viking trade, by way of Kievan Rus'.

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Here's a big AR pancake with two reverses


Samanid, Mansur I bin Nuh II (AD 961-976/AH 350-365) AR multiple dirham, Ma'din mint. Undated issue, Double reverse issue. it appears to be a muling of two reverses citing the ruler on both sides, late type, probably struck after Mansur's death in 365 and likely after about 370  : one side citing Mansur bin Nuh, the other side with just Mansur.
Ref: mule of Album 1465+1465A see Zeno 308820

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