Author Topic: Big silver in North Africa  (Read 2894 times)

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Austrokiwi

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Big silver in North Africa
« on: February 20, 2009, 03:39:52 PM »
It is the very first time that I have heard of a country in Africa abandoning its own currency,due to hyperinflation,& allowing foreign currencies to circulate.I can perfectly understand why the Rand & the US$ circulating there,but it is interesting that you can spend Botswanan currency (Pula & Thebe) there.

Aidan.


Given that many of the African states are realitively recent entities its not surprising that we see some firsts.  I suspect( don't know) that many borders ignored family and tribal borders and so created many of the problems we see today.

Colonization saw some interesting divisions of that continent.  If you look at North and east Africa, currencies of all types have been used, from Venetian beads, salt bars, and bolts of cloth.  I understand silver coin was the most universally accepted, first the Spanish dollar (8 real) which was then superseded by the Maria Theresia Taler, but not to the exclusion of other crown sized silver coins ( such as the US$).

Offline Figleaf

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Big silver in North Africa
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2009, 09:50:19 PM »
Given that many of the African states are realitively recent entities its not surprising that we see some firsts.  I suspect( don't know) that many borders ignored family and tribal borders and so created many of the problems we see today.

An obvious example is the Zulu, who live in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Moçambique. The Maasai live in Kenya and Tanzania. The Oromo live in Ethiopia and Kenya. The Haussa live in Nigeria, Niger, Sudan, Cameroon, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire and Chad. There will be other examples.

Colonization saw some interesting divisions of that continent.  If you look at North and east Africa, currencies of all types have been used, from Venetian beads, salt bars, and bolts of cloth.  I understand silver coin was the most universally accepted, first the Spanish dollar (8 real) which was then superseded by the Maria Theresia Taler, but not to the exclusion of other crown sized silver coins ( such as the US$).

The Spanish 8 reales, called abu midfa, was in competition with the Dutch lion dollar (abu kalb), with the Dutch coin steadily gaining ground until the Napoleonic wars, when supply stopped and the MT Thaler (abu kush) took over. After the first world war, the gold pound conquered the area by storm.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Austrokiwi

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Big silver in North Africa
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2009, 05:15:06 PM »

The Spanish 8 reales, called abu midfa, was in competition with the Dutch lion dollar (abu kalb), with the Dutch coin steadily gaining ground until the Napoleonic wars, when supply stopped and the MT Thaler (abu kush) took over. After the first world war, the gold pound conquered the area by storm.

Peter

Abu kursh (Father of Piastre)  , for MTT,  is a new name for me................Names I know of are as follows:

Abu Teir = father of Birds
Abu gnuchtu = father of contentment
Reali Moesi = Black Taler
Rial Nimsawi = Austrian Taler


I am interested in the abu kalb......my reading suggests that MTTs were already becoming the predominant coin of Choice in 1780. Through Count Johan de Fries efforts Hall ( until 1780) and Guenzburg produced Talers that were exported through Marsailles, and Lyon to NOrth Africa and then on to east Africa.  The resultant Market Penetration was such that the Guenzburg mint arms became the most acceptable in North and east Africa,  And so the "Main" MTT form "Upper Austria Arms" slowly diminished finally coming to an end around 1853.  The huge demand for Guenzburg MTTs was the reason Count de Fries argued for the continuation of the MTT after Nov 1780.

Offline Harald

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Big silver in North Africa
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2009, 04:11:50 PM »
Abu kursh (Father of Piastre)  , for MTT,  is a new name for me................Names I know of are as follows:

Abu Teir = father of Birds
Abu gnuchtu = father of contentment
Reali Moesi = Black Taler
Rial Nimsawi = Austrian Taler


I am interested in the abu kalb......my reading suggests that MTTs were already becoming the predominant coin of Choice in 1780. Through Count Johan de Fries efforts Hall ( until 1780) and Guenzburg produced Talers that were exported through Marsailles, and Lyon to NOrth Africa and then on to east Africa.  The resultant Market Penetration was such that the Guenzburg mint arms became the most acceptable in North and east Africa,  And so the "Main" MTT form "Upper Austria Arms" slowly diminished finally coming to an end around 1853.  The huge demand for Guenzburg MTTs was the reason Count de Fries argued for the continuation of the MTT after Nov 1780.

here are more nicknames for the MTT

abu kush = father of the bird (Hapsburgian eagle) [not: abu kursh !]
abu taka = father of the window (that's what the fields of the crest appeared like)
abu nukta = father of the dot (the pearl in Maria Theresia's diadem)

"abu kalb" for the daalder actually meant "father of the dog". since dogs are not in very high esteem in Arabia, I guess was meant to be disrespectful. AFAIK, something like "abu asad (father of the lion)" was never used.

cheers
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Harald


http://www.liganda.ch (monetary history & numismatic linguistics)

Austrokiwi

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Big silver in North Africa
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2009, 04:58:30 PM »
Thanks .....I'll add those to my notes

Austrokiwi

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Big silver in North Africa
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2009, 05:01:46 PM »

abu kush = father of the bird (Hapsburgian eagle) [not: abu kursh !]


cheers
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Harald


Which dialect...... Figleaf spelt it as Kush but I know of no arabic word so assumed it was supposed to be Kursh. In the main arabic dialect ( at least Jordanian) Teir ( or Teer) is Bird.

Offline Harald

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Big silver in North Africa
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2009, 06:03:16 PM »
Which dialect...... Figleaf spelt it as Kush but I know of no arabic word so assumed it was supposed to be Kursh. In the main arabic dialect ( at least Jordanian) Teir ( or Teer) is Bird.

oops, you got me. I actually copied the "abu kush" without checking. :(
in my Arabic dictionary I cannot find anything alike (as you said, "tair" actually means bird). I have to check further, maybe it is a particular bird that is not mentioned in my dictionary. But I'd rather be surprised if it was so.

It could be Egyptian dialect (this is where the "abu kush" is usually attributed to) or the translation is plain wrong.

BTW, the piaster is spelled "qirsh", only the plural would be "qurush".

cheers
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Harald
http://www.liganda.ch (monetary history & numismatic linguistics)

Offline Figleaf

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Big silver in North Africa
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2009, 06:51:01 PM »
I was told that abu kush and abu teir are equivalent; both refer to the eagle. A bit hypocrite, as the Arabs were most fascinated by MT's ample bossom.

Abu kalb refers to the lion, that looked like a dog (especially if you turn the coin slightly, so the animal stand on all fours) since the coins were so badly struck that details were often completely lost.

Abu midfa (father of the cannon) was a similar misunderstanding as the Arabs took the pillars of Hercules for cannons

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Austrokiwi

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Re: Big silver in North Africa
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2009, 05:30:03 PM »
I was told that abu kush and abu teir are equivalent; both refer to the eagle. A bit hypocrite, as the Arabs were most fascinated by MT's ample bossom.

Abu kalb refers to the lion, that looked like a dog (especially if you turn the coin slightly, so the animal stand on all fours) since the coins were so badly struck that details were often completely lost.

Abu midfa (father of the cannon) was a similar misunderstanding as the Arabs took the pillars of Hercules for cannons

Peter


Actually I have tried to track down the "soft porn" theory and it may be an artefact of cultural bias on the part of Victorian British explorers. 

In Ethiopia Maria Theresa's bust was taken as as representing the Virgin Mary ( Dennis Gill The coinage of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Italian Somalia 1991). Peez and Raudnitz (1898) note that the coin was accepted in Mecca during the Haj: if the soft porn theory is correct I would have thought the coin would not have received such acceptance.
   From what I gather the soft porn theory has developed as an explanation for the non acceptance of the heavily veiled bust(aprox 1765 - 1772) . However it may be more likely that the main reason that bust was not accepted was not the lack of bosom but rather the lack of the brooch ( as noted by Semple 2005). Gill notes that coins without a brooch were rejected or accepted at considerable discount in value, and Semple points out the key to the MTTs success was its unchanging nature.

I have tried to address the soft porn issue with Arabic dealers................in the main they have responded in good Humour and pointed out that a post Menopausal woman is not particularly attractive, and the bust looks  motherly.  If any one can point me in the direction of some solid references on the soft porn theory I would greatly appreciate it.


Interesting the MTT variety we all know as the MTT was not produced at Guenzburg during that mints existence 1764-1805.

The currently known form is a amalgamation of features from a number of mints.  Notably it has the Burgau arms however Guenzburg, in the main, did not produced Burgau Arms MTTs with a pearled brooch. {Guenzburg did produced pearled broochs on one MTT type:  with Upper Austria Arms and the initials TS - IF and, disputably, on another rare variety that some attribute to Venice {but that coin also has a different tail formation and the Guenzburg edge markings}.The edge markings on the common MTT variety is from the Vienna mint  not Guenzburg.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2009, 06:18:57 PM by Austrokiwi »