Author Topic: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H  (Read 1243 times)

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Offline Manzikert

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Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« on: June 10, 2017, 12:05:53 PM »
Just come across this one again, one of my few nice examples.

Civic copper, Hamadan, Anonymous, time of Fath' Ali Shah, [12]42 H, Val. 28, p.133, 11.07 gm, 24 mm.

Alan

Offline Overlord

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Re: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2017, 03:58:17 PM »
Great coin. I didn't know dragons were a part of Persian folklore as well.

Offline saro

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Re: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2017, 05:30:53 PM »
Thank you Alan for this post : this coin is not common and it's the best I have seen....
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Offline capnbirdseye

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Re: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2017, 10:16:52 PM »
Wow, first time I've seen a Dragon on a civic copper  8)
Vic

Offline saro

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Re: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2017, 08:44:48 AM »
As far I know, the only other iranian civic copper showing a dragon is a  coin of Teheran, with a very similar design.
A marvellous examplar is on Zeno : see here
« Last Edit: June 11, 2017, 01:28:53 PM by saro »
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Offline saro

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Re: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2017, 09:30:48 PM »
A civic copper (bisti) of Tiflis under safavid rule showing a dragon also exist... 3 are listed by Valentine: n°42, 43 & 44, one is dated 1124 AH
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2017, 11:47:20 PM »
The most logical origin of this dragon is China (four feet, no wings, body of a serpent). It's a bit late to ascribe it to the silk route, so here is my speculation. Obviously, the die sinkers in Iran and Afghanistan were travelling from one city to another. China from time to time got excited about minority religions.

[speculation]What if an accomplished Chinese craftsman had to leave the country, e.g. to escape religious persecution, ended up in Afghanistan and beat the competition by coming up with fresh, original images?[/speculation]

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

Offline saro

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Re: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2017, 08:21:19 AM »
The most logical origin of this dragon is China

from "The Monetary History of Iran": Copper coins typically had eponymous animals of the Zodiac and Tatar cycle printed on them, no doubt to make it easy for a largely illeterate populace to identify and differentiate between them"
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Offline EWC

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Re: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2017, 12:40:11 PM »
from "The Monetary History of Iran": Copper coins typically had eponymous animals of the Zodiac and Tatar cycle printed on them, no doubt to make it easy for a largely illeterate populace to identify and differentiate between them"

That seems interesting and important.  Immediately raises the question - why would they need to differentiate?  And seems to prompt the possible reply - because the type change involved a value change.

It occurs to me that Dragon like things turn up also in another numismatic menagerie - on the Vienna silver pfennig series of the 14th century, in what might well be exactly such circumstances

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2017, 01:13:50 PM »
IIRC, the civic coppers were a market tax: the coppers had a limited validity (one year?) and had to be re-minted often. At a fee, of course. This also explains the frequent overstrikes. If there were a zodiac series, they could help people to sort old coins and new ones quickly.

In Islam, it is not allowed to picture living animals, but, as you know, it is often allowed to make a picture of non-existant animals. Therefore, a dragon would be suitable, but other zodiac animals would not be. However, since the civic coppers show many other animals (lion, horse, stag etc.) the city mints seem to have enjoyed a degree of flexibility.

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

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2017, 04:24:01 PM »
Also, the coppers had a strictly local validity (which is why the first national issues have 'currency for the whole of Eran', or similar, on them), and travellers describe changing coppers in one town and finding them useless in the next town a few miles along the road.

The recoinages of copper were strictly down to the whim of the local governor (who I suspect probably levied a tithe on the profits each time a recoinage occurred). I have doubts about the 'recoinage every year' theory as I feel that would result in a far larger number of varieties than seem to exist. I think a recoinage whenever a new governor is appointed sounds more likely.

The Persians (perhaps Shiites in general?) were always a lot more relaxed about the production of pictures of living animals and other beings, as witness the large number of beautifully illustrated books (e.g. see illustrations on the Wikipedia Shahnameh page) produced in Iran.

Alan

Offline EWC

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Re: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2017, 08:03:41 PM »
I have doubts about the 'recoinage every year' theory as I feel that would result in a far larger number of varieties than seem to exist. I think a recoinage whenever a new governor is appointed sounds more likely.

I just had a look in Album and he says that some years (in Rasht in the 1230's) there were six of more changes in one year.

I wonder how much text there is on this matter.  It looks from Album as if new coin was tariffed at double melt value, and demonetised back to melt value.  In this and every similar case the question is - how to get people to remint rather than just use old coin at intrinsic.  Its clear from Austian pfennig hoards that it was often old coin that was hoarded, and that seems the sensible plan.  Perhaps it was mainly travellers who got hit by this?  When I transited Yugoslavia in 1978 they pulled a great stunt with their high value note..............

Rob

Offline Manzikert

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Re: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2017, 10:45:50 PM »
I suppose it just goes to show how few of these local coppers I've seen over the years.

It sounds as if the situation in Rasht was very unusual though, and it must have been rather like the German hyperinflation of the 1920's where people had to spend their money as soon as they could before it became obsolete! Alternatively there is the story of the governor of Astarabad in the 930's who was praised on his tomb inscription because he didn't recoin at all during his period of governorship.

Alan

Offline EWC

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Re: Civic copper, dragon, Hamadan, [12]42 H
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2017, 10:37:08 AM »
I suppose it just goes to show how few of these local coppers I've seen over the years.

I only noticed four types turn up in hoard quantities over the last 30 years.  Nice ones outside those seem to be so rare one wonders whether they often come from very early coin collections rather than the ground?  Perhaps many types were stuck that leave no survivors at all?  The oddity really is the big coppers with a deer of that Timurid Qunduz guy, Khusru – since exceptionally they do survive in large quantities  Perhaps because they had a higher fiat component?

Rob