Author Topic: Qarakhanid dirhem  (Read 2212 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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Qarakhanid dirhem
« on: November 12, 2015, 09:07:54 AM »
This coin came identified as Qarakhanid, Samarqand mint (thanks, Pellenore). It is copper, 3.2 grams, around 29 mm - big and thin. I can't even read the standard formulas in the centre, let alone the fragments on the edge, in spite of having found a brilliant site with notes on the script and identification guides. I guess if Stephen Album calls this “perhaps the most complex series of all Islamic coinage”, he knows what he's talking about. Is there a genius on WoC who can read this coin? Can someone at least tell me which side is the obverse?

Peter
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 03:37:39 PM by THCoins »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Qarakhanid falus
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2015, 10:54:50 AM »
I'm definitely no genius :), but the lower image is the side with the kalima, which I always treat as the obverse.

Alan

Offline capnbirdseye

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Re: Qarakhanid falus
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2015, 01:24:33 PM »
I had a number of these in a large lot I had recently, all are extremely poor compared to yours Peter so I've not attempted to identify any of them
Vic

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Qarakhanid falus
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2015, 01:48:46 PM »
Geniuses are in the eye of the beholder ;) If they baffle you all as well as Stephen Album, at least I can sleep easy. Do have a look at the site I mentioned above, though. I find it really good.

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

Offline EWC

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Re: Qarakhanid falus
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2015, 10:05:43 AM »
I searched long but found no one in the UK who could attribute this series for me.  There is however a gentleman in the USA (last I heard he was working in a bookshop) who can.  I had to mail mine over to get the job done.  Obviously there are experts in Russia............

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Qarakhanid falus
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2015, 10:25:24 AM »
I wrote to Rian Thum, a numismatist specializing in Central Asian coinage and Assistant Professor of Asian History at Loyola University New Orleans. He/she created the site mentioned above.

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

Offline EWC

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Re: Qarakhanid falus
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2015, 01:46:47 PM »
Thanks Peter

The bit on your link that troubles me is this:

 "This is just a matter of thumbing through the hundreds of entries in Kochnev looking for a match....................."

"Just a matter"!

I have Kochnev - and most of the relevant Tuebingen catalogues - but got nowhere with this - nor could I find anyone else in the UK who could tackle the job.  Part of the problem - as you link implies - is that having looked through hundreds of pictures, often the coin did not seem to be there at all.  The series seems to me to be a sprawling numismatic attributional nightmare.  (The guy who helped me out was in California)

Offline EWC

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Re: Qarakhanid falus
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2015, 01:48:49 PM »
Forgot to say - these things are not fals as I understand it - they are a species of fiat dirhem - or perhaps drachm - probably deriving from the Ghidrifi issues of Bukhara etc

Offline Pellinore

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Re: Qarakhanid falus
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2015, 02:00:39 PM »
That's right, the large AEs, with a diameter over 27 mm, are considered dirhems, they are thinner than the fals (these are around 25 mm). Sometimes they have a 'silver wash', that was made from lead, I believe.

Silver apparently was very scarce in that period, in that region: Central Asia in the 12th century AD.

By the way, there are several articles in the JONS about Qarakhanide coins. No easy reads, but they inspired me to start and collect these coins.
-- Paul
« Last Edit: November 13, 2015, 02:14:30 PM by Pellinore »

Offline EWC

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Re: Qarakhanid dirhem
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2015, 08:41:37 PM »
That's right, the large AEs, with a diameter over 27 mm, are considered dirhems,.................... Silver apparently was very scarce in that period, in that region: Central Asia in the 12th century AD.

Failure to strike silver coin in itself is no reason to assume there is a shortage of silver.  Its a bit depressing to see how often well known authors suggest otherwise.

As I recall, in 1776, the year Adam Smith published "Wealth of Nations", over 100,000 ounces of silver went through assay for plate.  The amount that went through the mint - nil.

Contrary to what is taught - lack of silver coin is not primarily driven by lack of silver metal

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Qarakhanid dirhem
« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2015, 10:59:50 PM »
I've had a look through SNAT XVa and I think your coin is:

Ghiyath al-Dunya wa ud-Din Muhammed bin Mas'ud (568-572 H) with Caliph al-Mustadi (566-575 H) and looks most like no. 928 (568 H) or 929 (569 H), even to the pellet under the reverse centre.

I attach scans of the appropriate section (these Tubingen Sylloges are too big for convenient use >:()

Alan

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Qarakhanid dirhem
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2015, 11:53:44 PM »
You're my hero, Manzikert! I am impressed.

Looking at the top line in the centre on the reverse (no square), I would bet on 928. Now, I'll just have to assume that the "mint date formula" points to Samarqand. I believe that info came from a Russian expert, so my chances are good.

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

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Qarakhanid dirhem
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2015, 12:25:41 AM »
Sorry, I should have said that this XVa is the volume for Bukhara and Samarkand, and that the mint is Samarkand: one of the authors was Kochnev, so I'd be pretty confident he got the mint right ;D

Alan

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Qarakhanid dirhem
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2015, 01:05:37 AM »
Perfect, Manzikert. That makes my day.

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