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I have been passingly interested in Arabic coinage but was a bit daunted by the language barrier and the lack of knowledge of history. Well, the other day while searching for Byzantine coins, I came across an Arabic imitation of a Constantine X follis.  I've loved the Constantine X follis design for a long time and was really excited to find an imitation. While bidding on that coin, I found a few other interesting Arabic coins that the seller had. I bid on those as well and was happy to win. 

 

I didn't know anything about them but have been reading up since they came in yesterday. 

Without further ado, here they are. Please feel free to share any of your Arabic examples. Thanks for looking!

This one is really interesting. I thought it was pretty interesting to see a mythical figure on an Arabic coin. I did some googling and found a nice write up by Warren Esty about it being Sagittarius as well as the Turkoman bronze coins depicting astrological signs. It isn't as nice as his example but his had Sagittarius running right while mine is running left.

1816797063_Nasiral-DinArtuqArslanDirham1201-1239AD.png.1fbc6c9ed7ee27d5d97525cbb6460c33.png

Nasir al-Din Artuq Arslan
1201 - 1239 AD
AE Dirham
Mardin mint
30 mm
11.43 gm
Obverse: Centaur-archer running to left, crowned head facing, stretching a bow whose arrow is pointed towards the wide-open jaws of a dragon emerging from the centaur's tail (Jupiter in Sagittarius).
Reverse: Four line Kufic legend.

 

Up next is another coin from Mardin, but it was minted some 25+ years earlier under. According to the reference site I found (here), the figures on this coin are Mercury in Virgo and Gemini.

741254207_Najmal-DinAlpiDirham1152-1176AD.png.48367ee94f95f167c4ba80b37b0ee6c7.png

Najm al-Din Alpi
1152 - 1176 AD
AE Dirham, in the name of al-Mustanjid (1160 - 1170 AD)
30 mm
10.93 gm
Obverse: Two male heads facing (Mercury in Gemini).
Reverse: Youthful female head facing (Mercury in Virgo).

 

Lastly, the coin that made me buy the other two...

1248428618_Nural-DinMahmudFals1146-1173AD.png.23ee4ddbedf4fb370f7370e84b3c7baa.png

Nur al-Din Mahmud
1146-1173 AD
AE Fals
22 mm
3.22 gm
Obverse: Two Byzantine-style figures standing, between them a labarum on three steps, blundered pseudo-Greek inscription around edges, Arabic inscription in two lines in middle "al-Adil/ Nur ad-Din" (The Just/ Light of the Faith)
Reverse: Figure of Christ standing, with halo, holding Gospel book in left hand, blundered pseudo-Greek inscription along edges, Arabic inscription in two lines along middle "Malik al-umara/ Mahmud" (King of the Commanders/ Mahmud), upside-down Greek letters IC XC (abbreviation for "Jesus Christ") to left and right of standing Christ

( I stole the attribution from @Parthicus who shared his coin on another forum. I couldn't have done nearly as good describing it!)

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I definitely have a soft spot for Islamic figural coins, and have collected quite a few.  But there is something about the simplicity of Post-Reform types, with their simple, unadorned Arabic script, that I also find very visually appealing.  And the highly stylized formula of inscription on Umayyad and Abbasid coins makes it a lot easier for non-linguistic folks like me to figure out the inscriptions.  Here's an Abbasid dirham (description borrowed from myself on another forum 😀😞

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Abbasid Caliphate. Armenia mint. AR dirham. 145 AH (762/3 AD), time of Caliph al-Mansur (136-158 AH/ 754-775 AD). Anonymous type, inscriptions in Arabic written in Kufic lettering. Obverse: in center first half of Kalima "la ilah illa/ Allah wahdadu/ la sharik lahu" (There is no god but God/ He is alone/ no partner to Him), legend around "bismillah zuribu haza ed-dirham bi-Arminiyat fi sanat khans wa arba'in wa miat" (in the name of God was struck this dirham in Armenia in year five and forty and one hundred). Reverse: in center second half of Kalima "Muhammad/ rasul/ Allah" (Muhammad is the messenger of God), legend around from the Quran, Sura 9:33 "Muhammad rasul Allah arsalahu bi-'l-huda wa din el-haqq li-yuzhirahu 'ala ed-din kollihi walau kariha el-mushrikun" (Muhammad is the messenger of God, He sent him with the guidance and a religion of the truth in order that he might cause it to be bright over the religion, all of it, although polytheists dislike it). Album 213.1. This coin: Auctions Sale 367 (NBJ Numismatics), lot 305 (2021).

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Posted · Benefactor
Posted (edited)

Nice coins, fellas ... FF, I love your first example!

... I had two of 'em (yours is the only other one I've ever seen ... hey, we're coin brothers!!)

 

ISLAMIC, Anatolia & al-Jazira (Post-Seljuk). Artuqids (Mardin) ... below

Nasir al-Din Artuq Arslan. Æ Dirham

Mardin mint

AH 597-637 / AD 1200-1239

Dated AH 599 (AD 1202/3)

Diameter: 29mm

Weight: 9.09 grams

Obverse: Centaur advancing right, head facing, drawing bow at head of dragon emerging from his tail; mint name and AH date around

Reverse: Names and titles of Abbasid caliph al-Nasir and Ayyubid overlord in four lines; name of Nasir al-Din Artuq Arslan in margins

Reference: Whelan Type II, pp. 111-2; S&S Type 38.2; Album 1830.2; ICV 1212

Other: 3h … fricken cool ... earthen dark brown-black patina, areas of weak strike

Ex-stevex6

Islamic Anatolia & al-Jazira Centaur Left.jpg

 

 

ISLAMIC, Anatolia & al-Jazira (Post-Seljuk). Artuqids (Mardin) ... below

Nasir al-Din Artuq Arslan. Æ Dirham

Mardin mint

AH 597-637 / AD 1200-1239

Dated AH 599 (AD 1202/3)

Diameter: 29 mm

Weight: 13.58 grams

Obverse: Centaur advancing left, head facing, drawing bow at head of dragon emerging from his tail; mint name and AH date around

Reverse: Names and titles of Abbasid caliph al-Nasir and Ayyubid overlord in four lines; name of Nasir al-Din Artuq Arslan in margins

Reference: Whelan Type II, 61-3; S&S Type 38.1; Album 1830.2; ICV 1212

Other: 10h … earthen dark brown-black patina, areas of weak strike ... c'mon, a dragon emerging from your tail (cool, right?)

Ex-stevex6

 

Islamic Anatolia & al-Jazira Centaur Right.jpg

 

... so cool, right?

 

Edited by Steve
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I too don't really collect Arabic coins, but I do really like them, so sometimes they come my way.

In what is a testament to my numismatic laziness, it took me 30 years to attribute this one!  Back around 1992 I attended the Chicago International Coin Fair (or whatever it is called), pretty much my only coin show appearance.  It was a lot of fun, but Chicago traffic being what it is, I haven't been back.  Anyway, a dealer had a whole bowl of Abbasid dirhams for something like $10 each.  I bought one, but wish I'd gotten a few more.  Just last week, 30 years later, I got around to attributing it: 

233680357_Abbasid-alRashiddirhamChicago1992(0).jpg.93a9269594f8bc7731310bf7c22423dc.jpg

Abbasid Caliphate  Dirham Harun al-Rashid  al-Muhammadiya Mint A.H. 188 (803-804 A.D.) Kalima; in margin, mint and date formula / Kalima continued; below, Arabic letter "ha" Album 219.2; SICA III 1484.  (2.84 grams / 24 x 23 mm)  Chicago Coin Fair c. 1992; seller had bowl full; about $10.00 ea.

More recently, this dirham came up on eBay and went for about what I paid for the one back in '92.  I got right on the attribution this time!

607398750_Abbasid-al-MansurDirhamJun2022(0).jpg.85e01469b36a3f5b9c97892ca58fde84.jpg

Abbasid Caliphate   Dirham al-Mansur Madinat-al-Salam Mint A.H. 148 (765-766 A.D.) Kalima; in margin, mint and date formula / Kalima continued; "bakh" below.  Album 213.1; Lavoix 660.  (2.85 grams / 25 x 24 mm) eBay June 2022 $12.07

Any corrections to my attributions most welcome!  I have no idea what I am doing with these.  😁

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Yes they are not easy to attribute when you don't know which bit is the ruler's name. But I would collect more if funds were no object.

al-Muʿtamid ʿalā ’llāh Dirham, 876-877image.png.bb4882c110f06d8b6ddcee88085c75a1.png

Madinat al-Salam (Baghdad), Abbasid Caliphate. Silver, 2.93g. al-Mu'tamid, citing his brother al-Muwaffaq, AH263 (A 240.5).

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Posted (edited)

Sorry (at least for myself), my couple of really nice Abbasid dirhams don't have pictures.  But here are a couple of scarce-ish ones from the Andalusian taifa of Toledo, which fell to Alfonso VI of Castile in 1085 CE.  Even with the lousy strikes and clipping (not to mention the truly execrable debasement), the calligraphy is top-drawer.  Demonstrating the taifas' dire straits, poltically and economically, along with their ongoing status as a major center of Islamic culture.

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Al-Ma'Mun, 1043/4-1075 CE (sorry, too lazy to go beyond what's here in print for the AH dates).

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His grandon and successor, Al-Qadir, 1075-1079 /1080-1085 CE.

 

 

 

Edited by JeandAcre
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I just ID'd this one today and acsearch did not have the astrological descriptions you found. Cool.

art.jpg.13167340401546925feb9563971f651e.jpg

Anatolia and Al-Jazirah (Post-Seljuk). Artuqids (Mardin). Najm al-Din Alpi AD 1152-1176. (AH 547-572).

Two diademed male heads facing slightly away from one another, in margins, Kalima above and below, name of Abbasid caliph to right and left / Female head facing, name and pedigree of Najm al-Din Alpi around.
Struck AH 560-566 (AD 1164-1170)
Dirhem AE31.

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Here is mine with full attribution...

 

Artuqids of Mardin: Najm al-Din Alpi (547-572 AH / 1152-1176 CE) Æ Dirham (Whelan Type IV, 44-5; S&S Type 30.1; Album 1827.5; ICV 1203)

Obv: Two diademed and draped male heads facing slightly away from one another; in margins, لا اله الا الله above and محمد رسول الله below, ﺍﻟﻤﺴﺘﻨﺠﺪ ﺑﺎﻟﻠﻪ to the right upwards and ﺍﻣﻴﺮﺍﻟﻤﺆﻣﻨﻴﻦ to the left downwards (There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, al-Mustanjid billah, Commander of the Faithful)
Rev: Facing female head, wearing necklace; in margins, ﻧﺠﻢ ﺍﻟﺪﻳﻦ above and ﺍﻟﭙﻰ ﺑﻦ ﺍﻳﻞﻏﺎﺫﯼ below, ﺑﻦ ﺍﺭﺗﻖ to the right upwards and ﻣﻠﻚ ﺩﻳﺎﺭ ﺑﻜﺮ to the left downwards (Star of the Faith, Alpi ibn Il-Ghazi ibn Artuq, Ruler of Diyarbakir)

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This one is somewhat of a recent pickup.  I was looking for this particular type for a long time and I was lucky to spot it on ebay:

 

Artuqids of Mardin: Husam al-Din Yuluq Arslan (1184-1200) Æ Dirhem (Album 1829.4; Whelan Type IV; S&S Type 36.2; Zeno 293026)

Obv: Turk, cross legged, seated facing, holding severed head and raised sword; نور الدين اتا / بك to right (Nur al-Din Atabeg); ornamental in exergue
Rev: Name and titles the Abbasid caliph in three lines - الناصر لدين / الله امير المؤمنين (al-Nasir li-Din Allah, Commander of the Faithful); names and titles of Ayyubid overlord in inner margin - الملك الافضل علي و الملك الظاهر غازي بن الملك الناصر يوسف (the King al-Afdal 'Ali and the King al-Zahir Ghazi b. al-Malik al-Nasir Ayyub); name of Husam al-Din Yuluq Arslan and AH date in outer margin - حسام الدين يولق ارسلان ملك ديار بكر بن ايل غازي بن ارتق ضرب سنة ست و تسعين و خمس (Husam al-Din Yuluq Arslan, King of the Diyar Bakr, b. al-Ghazi b, Artuq, struck (in the) year 596)

Dim: 30 mm, 14.67

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This one straddles between Byzantine and the Islamic worlds, albeit, not precisely an Arab-Byzantine coin.  These two coins are recent pickups of countermarked Mardin coins that used worn-out Byzantine coins as their host coins.  The interesting thing about both of these coins is that the host coins are scarce types, namely, the Class H and Class J folles.  In comparison to over 2,200+ coins that were found in the Mardin hoard, an extremely small percentage of the coins were of these types of folles. The coutermark is from Izz al-din Abu Bakr al-Dubaysi, the governor of al-Jazirah. He was appointed by Sayf al-Din Ghazi I of al-Mawsil. Izz al-Din revolted upon Ghazi's death and took al-Jazirah as independent kingdom. During this period, he added countermarks to circulating coins. The seminal book on these types of coins is The Mardin Hoard: Islamic Countermarks on Byzantine Folles by Bendall, Whitting, and Lowick. It documents the hoard of coins where these countermarks were first found. Additional hoards have since been analyzed by Goodwin and Schultz.  Unfortunately, I can't find my copy of book at the moment. I'll find it and try to post a more thorough summary of the hoard, but for now, here are my two recent additions:

 

Byzantine Empire: Anonymous Class J Æ Follis, Attributed to Alexius I Comnenus, Constantinople (Sear 1900; DOC J.1; Album 1958)

Obv: Bust of Christ Pantocrator facing, bearded, with cross behind head having on each arm, wearing tunic and himation; right hand raised in blessing in sling of cloak, left clasps book to breast. In upper angles of cross, two crescents. In field, IC - XC; Mardin Hoard Countermark #16 (لله)
Rev: Latin cross with large pellets at each extremity. Beneath the cross, large crescent. To left and right, above and below, large pellets surrounded by small pellets


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Byzantine Empire: Anonymous Class H Æ Follis, Attributed to Michael VII, Constantinople (Sear 1880; DOC H.5; Album 1954/5)

Obv: IC-XC to right and left of bust of Christ facing with nimbate cross behind head, square in each limb of nimbus cross, holding book of gospels, a dot in center of dotted square on book; Mardin Hoard Countermark #12 (عدل عز)
Rev: Patriarchal cross with globule and pellets at extremities, set on floral ornament; Mardin Hoard Countermark #13 (عز)

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Edited by quant.geek
typo
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