World of Coins

Medieval and cash coins => Islamic world => Topic started by: BACTRIANUMIS on May 17, 2013, 08:08:15 AM

Title: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: BACTRIANUMIS on May 17, 2013, 08:08:15 AM
Dear Colleagues, please help me with this AR coin, 18 mm, 2.2 gr.
Thanks in advance!
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: THCoins on May 17, 2013, 09:59:41 AM
Style to me very much suggests a fairly early Ayyubid AR Dirham.
I am no specialist in this field,  so can not give you a more precise attribution.
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: akona20 on May 17, 2013, 10:10:40 AM
I agree with Ayyubid.
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: BACTRIANUMIS on May 17, 2013, 10:12:04 AM
Thanks a lot dear Colleagues! I also found a similar stile with ARTUQIDS OF MARDIN, cant reed koufic unfortunately
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Manzikert on May 17, 2013, 03:42:57 PM
Hi

It is actually a dirhem of the Khwarezmshah `Ala al-Din Muhammad, 596-617 H, see http://www.zeno.ru/showphoto.php?photo=124570

Quite why this type (which as Akona20 and THCoins rightly say is usually associated with the Ayyubids, and with the Artuqids) should crop up in central Asia as well I've no idea. Perhaps someone just saw one on his travels or in trade, liked it, and had enough influence with the Khwarezmian authorities to have it copied?

Alan
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: BACTRIANUMIS on May 17, 2013, 04:48:24 PM
Thanks a lot, Dear Alan! Admire your knowledge.
KR
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: THCoins on May 17, 2013, 06:47:05 PM
Great ! I keep learning something every day.
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: akona20 on May 18, 2013, 03:25:40 AM
Yes I see the coin is attributed as such.

The six pointed star or hexagram I believe can be rightly call the Seal of Solomon.

The weight presented is a little interesting though
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Manzikert on May 18, 2013, 01:20:52 PM
Well spotted, I'd missed the weight :(

I assume this is probably a half-dirhem that is rather overweight.

My dirhem is 3.49 gm and my half is 1.77 gm, so 0.5 gm overweight seems a little more plausible than 1.3 gm underweight if it was intended as a dirhem.

Album (A 1720, 1720A) says they are copied from the Ayyubid Aleppo coins.

Alan
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: akona20 on May 18, 2013, 01:35:19 PM
Yes I checked Album, but the weight is a long way off for these.
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Afrasi on May 18, 2013, 09:28:42 PM
Thanks to a friend, who found this informative topic at zeno:

http://www.zeno.ru/showphoto.php?photo=99415
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: THCoins on May 19, 2013, 02:51:57 PM
An interesting link, thanks !
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: THCoins on July 20, 2015, 11:56:54 AM
Browsing e-bay i find that German dealer Lanz is offering a lot (>20) of coins of this type in individual auctions. Like this one (http://www.ebay.de/itm/LANZ-Khwarezem-Shah-Halbdrachme-Muhammed-13-Jhd-Islam-WV4327-/371382857529?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_77&hash=item567824af39). These are both Drachm and half drachm types.
Looking better at these however, i am concerned. This because all these specimen seem to be die identical. And although the opening post picture in this thread is not super clear, i also think it is die identical to the ones offered by Lanz. Even more so, also on Zeno multiple die identical specimen are present. This worries me a lot as i can not imagine any recently discovered hoard to be almost fully comprized of die identical specimen.
Looking at the Lanz specimen, some have strange wear patterns, with deeply struck parts right next to relatively flat spots. This suggests that the surface of these were subject to physical treament (hammering) after striking.
Although i can not be fully sure these coins are fake, i thought it would be good to express my doubts in public. So possibly interested collectors can form their own opinion.
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Pellinore on July 20, 2015, 03:01:12 PM
Thanks, I was thinking about buying one, but none of the dirhems I have seen are really very fine. The half-dirhems are looking as if the same die was used as for the one-dirhem: too large for the flan.

Could anybody help how these coins should be read? I believe (following Plant, p. 73 for the Ayyubid model) the obverse has the kalima in the corners and the reverse (that's the side with the S at the top and the foot inside the star) shows the mint and date in the corners. But still it's not easy to read what it says.

-- Paul
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: THCoins on July 20, 2015, 03:37:05 PM
Never tried to read the edge text on these. Just quickly glanceing at the one in this thread:
On the left pict reading anti-clockwise from 1 o'clock is "Zarb Sanat" so the year number is in the rest of the invisible edge spaces.
On the right pic starting at 5 o'clock is "Rasul Allah", fitting with end of the Kalima.

Anthony
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Pellinore on July 20, 2015, 04:36:33 PM
Here's a picture of one of the Lanz coins with visible date and mint (I hope) - it is already sold.
Can you read it?
-- Paul
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: THCoins on July 20, 2015, 04:56:10 PM
Also looking at some other ones, starting at 9 o'clock "Four" "Ten" "and Six" "Hundred". So the date 614AH.
I don't think the mintplace is indicated on this type.
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: capnbirdseye on July 20, 2015, 05:49:36 PM
I had a number of these (15) in my recent big lot, Looking closely most of them appear to be from the same dies as the one on zeno & Ebay site but look as though many hundreds were struck as you can clearly see die expansion & flattening of the letters from a lot of hammering on some of them.

This is really odd, the zeno coins were posted  several years ago, my coins appear to have been in their packets quite some time so what a mystery this is
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: THCoins on July 20, 2015, 06:24:02 PM
With your coins, that's getting towards 50 recorded specimen, all from the same die. I seems that these have been on the market for well over 10 years. It is just now that the Lanz firm seems flooding the market with these that i noticed. It is remarkable to say the least.
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Figleaf on July 20, 2015, 10:10:52 PM
FWIW, Lanz is a multi-generation family business with a solid rep, but they mostly deal in European coins.

Peter
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Afrasi on July 20, 2015, 10:24:21 PM
Lanz is a multi-generation family business with a solid rep ...

 ???

Sorry! There are many collectors with other experiences ...
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: capnbirdseye on July 20, 2015, 10:41:00 PM
Three coins from zeno, undoubtedly from the same dies   ???

I think these are from a hoard discovered some time back
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: EWC on July 21, 2015, 08:28:58 AM
Interesting.  I just had a look at a few of these and there are a lot of die links - (but I saw at least 4 dies).

Indicates that it was a fairly small issue but that a large proportion of it survived melting.

That is true also of the Ghengis billon issue of Ghazna - but in that case the reason is pretty clear - nearly everyone was killed soon after the issue, and being base billon, they were then left uncollected.

All these Syrian style dirhems seem to be struck in 614 - perhaps in Herat?  My guess is that the issue was aborted as there no profit in it for the issuers, and what was struck was immediately hoarded - a Gresham response to the flood of base billon jitals.

Thus they were immobilised soon after issue in savings hoards.  As I recall only 40 people were supposed to have survived the Mongol conquest of Herat.  So there was next to no one left to return and dig up their savings - and a very large proportion of the issue survived in the ground down to the 20th century.

Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: THCoins on July 21, 2015, 09:39:23 AM
The theory of a single savings hoard might be right. It would contradict the theory that this was an issue to finance the battle against the Ayyubids, as proposed in this thread (http://www.zeno.ru/showphoto.php?photo=99415) on Zeno.
A problem i have with the direct hoarding theory is the state of many of these coins. Instead of looking mint-state many look like the surfaces were hammered after striking. I don't think this is all explained by die wear.
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: capnbirdseye on July 21, 2015, 10:07:16 AM
Instead of looking mint-state many look like the surfaces were hammered after striking. I don't think this is all explained by die wear.


But isn't a lop sided strike commonly seen on coins of this era where one side of the coin has very little die impression, I have lots of coins like this
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: EWC on July 21, 2015, 10:19:10 AM
But isn't a lop sided strike commonly seen on coins of this era where one side of the coin has very little die impression, I have lots of coins like this

I agree with Vic on that.

My slight information is the coins are perhaps from Herat.  Ala-ud-din struck coins of many sorts - including base gold dinars of the Kanauj type far to the east as well as star dirhems of western types.  My guess is that Ala-ud-din had a monetary philosophy similar to that of Hayek - he sold licenses to coin to all comers, allowing a free for all.  These were a failed bid by Syrian merchants to get a foothold in the market.

I judge Ala-ud-din was a political catastrophy.  He ran away from Ghengis Khan because he knew the population hated him too much to fight for him.  As I recall, not only did the population of Bukhara rise up and kill all his tax collectors - they cut them up and hung the joints in the meat market.
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Pellinore on July 21, 2015, 08:46:37 PM
I counted the coins still for sale plus the ones sold by Lanz: 35 dirhems and 8 half dirhems. Naturally, more coins might be added in the next weeks. And if you are on good terms with Lanz you could ask for the source (why not?).
-- Paul
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: THCoins on July 21, 2015, 09:25:39 PM
Interstingly, there was only one of the half-dirhams offered by the Lanz firm which was a bit different and certainly not die identical. But i suspect that was an Ayyubid half-dirham which was mixed in the lot somehow.
In al cases the "Scarce" classification of this type can be changed because of al these specimen which have surfaced. (There's another seller who recently has an additional group of 6 for sale, again die identical.)
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Pellinore on July 21, 2015, 11:56:07 PM
I agree with you, these coins are not scarce anymore. They are certainly not expensive, generally 6-25 euros in auction.
There's also a double strike and some damaged dies, technically interesting I would think.
-- Paul
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Afrasi on July 22, 2015, 12:07:13 AM
And if you are on good terms with Lanz you could ask for the source (why not?).

Why not? Because Lanz will lock you as a bidder. At least this happend to friends of me ... I myself was "lucky" only getting no reasonable answer.
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Manzikert on July 22, 2015, 12:36:21 AM
Just to add yet another from the same obverse die as Vic's, mine bought from EWC several years ago.

Alan
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Pellinore on July 22, 2015, 01:04:52 AM
I saw those marks and stripes on other coins, what is the meaning of these - technically? Scraped dies?
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Manzikert on July 22, 2015, 10:10:20 AM
File marks on the blanks, either from thickness or (more likely here) weight adjustment, just as we were discussing with the Samanid and Qarakhanid coppers http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,31950.0.html .

In this case the blank was filed quite aggressively at upper right on what became the reverse side: this left the blank too thin at this point, and therefore the obverse wasn't struck up properly opposite the filing. The finer lines on the obverse along the bottom are probably just scratches on the face of the hammer used to flatten the blank.

Alan
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: EWC on July 22, 2015, 10:23:50 AM
File marks on the blanks,

I would differ.  They look to me like the impression left by hammering out the blanks on a rough anvil with lots of striations in its surface
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Pellinore on July 22, 2015, 12:20:45 PM
File marks on the blanks, either from thickness or (more likely here) weight adjustment, just as we were discussing with the Samanid and Qarakhanid coppers http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,31950.0.html .

In this case the blank was filed quite aggressively at upper right on what became the reverse side: this left the blank too thin at this point, and therefore the obverse wasn't struck up properly opposite the filing. The finer lines on the obverse along the bottom are probably just scratches on the face of the hammer used to flatten the blank.

Alan

Alan, as for the first remark, I think these marks are different from those on bronze Qarakhanid coins in that discussion thread: the Qarakhanid marks are incised and these are lying on the surface.

The second remark: quite right, I see it now it's the same side of the coin that is defaced, the metal's probably thinner there. The marks at the reverse (right picture) have the same height as the star and the lettering, they look like they came with the die - it's the die that looks damaged or mis-fabricated.
The striations at the obverse have a lower relief, they look to me as if they were already there on the blank. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
-- Paul
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: EWC on July 22, 2015, 01:48:47 PM
Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Condider the possiblity that there were fewer striations on the face of the hammer than the face of the anvil.........
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: THCoins on July 24, 2015, 06:38:21 PM
Quote
But isn't a lop sided strike commonly seen on coins of this era where one side of the coin has very little die impression

Vic forwarded this as an explanation for the relative flat parts on quite large proportion of these coins. I now looked at pictures of a lot of these. I even got myself a specimen (not from Lanz, but die-identical). I dare say now that at least part of the flatness is not caused by uneven flan thickness or uneven strike. On a lot of the die identical specimen one can observe a deformation of the dots within the edge of the star in the regions adjacent to flat spots. In general the dots have expanded there. This can not be caused by die degradation as the regions in which this has occurred seems random from specimen to specimen. The most likely explanation to me is what i suggested earlier. These coins have been subjected to physical external force, likely by hammering, after the coins were struck. In my single specimen this is also supported by the local deformation of the edge at the flat part. The edge is clearly more concave in the flat surface region, fitting with pressure applied from top and bottom at the edge.

Though i lack the expertise to classify these coins as either genuine or non-genuine, i do believe the emergence of this flood of die-identical specimen (the count for Lanz now is > 60) is remarkable and not satisfactorily explained at this moment.

Anthony
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Pellinore on August 01, 2015, 02:11:02 AM
My two coins came in this week. They didn't cost much.
The dirhem weighs 3,44 gr and measures 16,99 mm. The half dirhem weighs 1,73 gr and measures 12,83 mm.
They are much thicker than I expected, 1,60 mm for the dirhem and 1,52 mm for its half. Here are some pictures.
-- Paul
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Pellinore on August 01, 2015, 12:20:22 PM
Lanz is still offering them and advertising them as 'very rare'. However, he offered a total (as far as I can see) of 57 dirhems and 10 half dirhems in a few months (the last was put online on July 31, 22:46). You can detect various dies, but the one showed above has a large majority.
-- Paul
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: THCoins on August 01, 2015, 02:13:09 PM
And mine (3.45 grams). Not from Lanz, and also fairly cheap.
If all these came from a single hoard find, it must have had surely over 150 specimen of the same type.
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Pellinore on September 17, 2017, 09:51:13 PM
I wonder if anything has come up on this subject. I suppose part of a war chest was found in Afghanistan, and this was the result. But has the stream dried up since? Are there any more conclusions to draw?
-- Paul
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: EWC on September 18, 2017, 08:14:18 AM
I see no reason to mention war chests.  These coins are fairly common and the circumstances indicate that savings hoarding - either one big lot or multiple smaller ones - are likely to be involved

What ground remains that has not been covered?

Rob T

Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Pellinore on September 18, 2017, 09:35:47 AM
Well, the war chest theory would explain the large number of die matchings. And the other thing is: has the flood dried up or is there still a number of these coins coming up?
-- Paul
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: EWC on September 18, 2017, 09:52:43 AM
Paul > Well, the war chest theory would explain the large number of die matchings.

How, specifically?

Paul > And the other thing is: has the flood dried up or is there still a number of these coins coming up?

I have seen maybe 100 pieces around London over the years on top of the 150 (?) reported in Germany - but I certainly would not call that a flood.  One guy's modest pension fund would cover it.  Reporting procedures in Afghanistan of course leave much to be desired, but I rather think that is one of their more minor problems


Rob T
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Pellinore on September 18, 2017, 02:00:04 PM
A guy collecting his pay over months would have many different coins. The output of a mint before paying soldiers would be more homogeneous. If you go to the bank for 100 one-pound coins, chance that they are from the same year is much higher than when you just examine the contents of your pockets.
-- Paul
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: EWC on September 18, 2017, 02:37:37 PM
All the coins I heard of are of the same year- 614.  Perhaps then a small initial issue of a few hundred thousand coins from few dies, but a large survival rate due to failure to retrieve hoards after the mass slaughter.

This matches the situation at Ghazni where the Mongol jital in the name of the Khan survive in big numbers from very few dies.

Arguments from soldier and civilian pay make too many assumptions for me.  I guess most lowly people on salaries probably got paid in billon jitals (with a big fiat component of value).  Also it was quite common in medieval Islam for all precious metal coin to go rapidly to hoards.  There is text on this in Safavid times in Minorsky "Tadhkirat al-Muluk".  The Egyptian Geniza texts (Goitein) show much precious coin that did circulate did so stitched into sealed bags, sometime for many decades -  those coins might never leave  their birth chums.

Basically, I fear its all bit too complicated get far with guesses
Title: Re: Khwarezm dirhem of 596-617 H
Post by: Pellinore on September 18, 2017, 04:19:38 PM
All the coins I heard of are of the same year- 614.  Perhaps then a small initial issue of a few hundred thousand coins from few dies, but a large survival rate due to failure to retrieve hoards after the mass slaughter.

This matches the situation at Ghazni where the Mongol jital in the name of the Khan survive in big numbers from very few dies.

Arguments from soldier and civilian pay make too many assumptions for me.  I guess most lowly people on salaries probably got paid in billon jitals (with a big fiat component of value).  Also it was quite common in medieval Islam for all precious metal coin to go rapidly to hoards.  There is text on this in Safavid times in Minorsky "Tadhkirat al-Muluk".  The Egyptian Geniza texts (Goitein) show much precious coin that did circulate did so stitched into sealed bags, sometime for many decades -  those coins might never leave  their birth chums.

Basically, I fear its all bit too complicated get far with guesses

This sounds all very sensible - one never knows. 800 years ago, the mists of the past...
-- Paul