Author Topic: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham  (Read 1182 times)

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Offline THCoins

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Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« on: April 24, 2016, 01:25:30 PM »
Just as with the Ghorids, i thought i should complement my Khwarezmshahi Jital collection with at least a few silver Dirhams.

This is an AR Dirham from Ghazna. It is smaller and lighter than the somewhat earlier Ghorid Dirhams that were recently shown.
The obverse center text names the titles of the ruler. There is a fine line pattern visible between the inscription parts. As this is most clear on the parts of the coin that were struck with most force this seems to be transferred from the surface of the die, and not the remnant of the preparation of the blanks.
The reverse text shows the Kalima and a reference to the Caliph from Baghdad.

28 mm, 3.01 grams, For reference: Album 1715.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 08:30:38 PM by THCoins »

Offline Pellinore

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2016, 01:56:09 AM »
I have a coin much like yours, but it's fairly heavy: 6,31 gr. with a diameter of 27 mm. Would that be a double dirhem?
-- Paul

Offline THCoins

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2016, 08:15:39 AM »
The weights of these are known to vary markedly. The general thought is that these were used in trade as a form of bullion, so they were weighed in transactions.

Anthony

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2016, 10:59:08 AM »
My two weigh 5.55 (30 mm) and 7.30 gm (29 mm) respectively, so we have a spread of 3.01 to 7.30 in just our four examples, so I'd definitely go with the 'bullion' idea :)

My 5.55 gm one below

Alan

Offline EWC

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2016, 02:23:50 PM »
The mysterious set of letters written about 1211 AD (found in a pot in a cave near Bamiyan) tell that the writer's job was buying "bread" with "dirhems".  The writer is lonely and frightened, he feels he needs a bigger armed guard.

The best guess as to what is going on is that debased fiat jitals of some particular type are being required for payment of specific taxes, and the way for the populace to get these debased jitals is to buy them with bullion silver.

So basically, it seems the guy was a kind of tax collector - buying the old Ghorid bullion coin pictured here by weight, using over valued tokens (jitals) by count.  That he calls we we now tend to call "jitals" "dirhems" and what we now call "dirhems" "bread" is just another problem of translation.

He was right to be frightened perhaps.  As I recall about 7 years later, in Bukhara, the populace became so annoyed with local tax collectors that they rose up and killed them, butchered them, and hung the joints of meat in the meat market as if for sale......


Rob



Offline THCoins

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2016, 06:37:13 PM »
Just got this one which, i think, is another illustration of the thin line between coin and bullion.
This is a broad dirham usually attributed to Balkh (Album 1719 group, a much nicer one shown here). But looking at this it could very well just have been merely an officially approved lump of silver, stamped somewhere in the province. The flan is ragged and crudely hammered, without much effort to make it look like a standard coin it seems.

AR 35 mm largest dimension, 6.2 grams.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2016, 07:30:10 PM by THCoins »

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2016, 07:55:29 PM »
Very interesting. This looks like a cold-rolled lump of silver, not anything hammered flat. In Europe, this technology was applied where there was water power, but AFAIK, Khwarezm is a desert town, sitting on an aquifer, so water power is unlikely there. I can imagine animal-driven presses, but have never seen them.

Could there have been a water-powered mint somewhere along the Tigris? I wouldn't expect a mint close to the the border of the Khwarezm empire...

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

Offline THCoins

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2016, 09:10:04 PM »
In hand, the flan does show several facets at a slight angle, very suggestive of hammering. If that was done in combination with cold pressing, i can't say.

If this was made at Balkh, that's quite far from the Tigris. Balkh earlier was the capital of Bactria, and also later was an important regional centre.
Quote
I wouldn't expect a mint close to the the border of the Khwarezm empire.
Well , you should. The Khwarezm Shahi did not have a centralised minting system. Quite a lot of mints were located near the borders and passes. Perhaps because of trade and the military regiments which were located there, who would have to be paid.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2016, 09:33:02 PM »
Hammering would be more logical and I do see the hammer marks on the left picture at 4 and 7/8 o'clock. What I find difficult to explain are the craggy ruptures at 3 and 12 o'clock. Hammering would have shut them by metal compression, as you can see in the centre, where the striking has produced a pretty smooth surface. Cold rolling with relatively little pressure could have produced the cracks if the silver and copper were unevenly mixed or contained contaminants.

My scenario is: lump (perhaps a cut off part of a metal bar) is flattened by rolling, then hammered smooth and finally struck. If so, where did the energy for the rolling come from?

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

Offline THCoins

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2018, 09:37:09 AM »
For reference, adding another variant of the Balkh dirhams (All Album-1719 group).
This one has the words Sultan and Muhammad in the center within a hexalobed ornament.
This subtype is somewhat scarcer than the plain circle subtype.

AR 31 mm, 6.09 gr.

Offline Pellinore

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2018, 12:48:19 PM »
Compare with these two coins with a VERY large weight difference. Maybe the smaller one was clipped? But what for, if they went by bullion? (Although clerks might nip off little pieces of silver, furtively, in their bosses' treasure house). However, the edges don't show evidence of this. Same irregularities and little edge cracks. Diameters 30 and 21 mm, weights 4.28 and 1.96 gr.

-- Paul


Offline THCoins

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2018, 01:41:16 PM »
These last two show a very striking contrast !
Use of bullion does not exclude that these might be clipped. One may have had the need for smaller amounts of silver that were marked as reliable.
I found it interesting to note that the irregular and varying weight specimen are mostly of the die type you show. The ones with the hexalobe pattern do no vary that much in size and weight. So these may have been more "proper coins"?

Offline Pellinore

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2018, 02:21:17 PM »
And now properly aligned. The upper one 30 mm, 4.28 gr. 7h, the lower one 21 mm, 1.96 gr. 3h.
-- Paul


Offline Pellinore

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2018, 02:27:12 PM »
These last two show a very striking contrast !
Use of bullion does not exclude that these might be clipped. One may have had the need for smaller amounts of silver that were marked as reliable.
I found it interesting to note that the irregular and varying weight specimen are mostly of the die type you show. The ones with the hexalobe pattern do no vary that much in size and weight. So these may have been more "proper coins"?

What we see here is a very small sample, I don't have any others and didn't study any catalogs, but possibly you know more of these, or there are useful articles about this type.

-- Paul

Offline THCoins

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Re: Khwarezmshah Ala ud-Din Muhammad (1200-20AD) AR Dirham
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2018, 04:32:31 PM »
Don't now much accessible literature on the subject.
I have another one that's 5.28 gr. AncientNoob showed one weighing 7.45 gr.

Have you noted that there is a slight design difference between your specimen in the arrangement of the three dots below "al-Sultan" ?

Quick picture of my other specimen added.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2018, 06:53:47 PM by THCoins »