Author Topic: Wire Larin from Maldives  (Read 347 times)

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Offline sealladh58

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Wire Larin from Maldives
« on: February 23, 2017, 12:32:14 PM »
Shown here is a Wire Larin that I have recently acquired.  Its weight is 5.47g and the length is 56.1mm.  I am confident this Larin can be attributed to Maldives.  The top image is taken as the obverse and I am fairly certain the inscription is Sultan al-Barr (wa) al-Bahr as-Sultan Iskandar al-Fakhr darb Mahlé fi sanat 17.  This translates as Sultan (of) the Land (and) the Sea the Sultan Iskandar the Glorious struck in Malé in the (regnal) year 17.

This title is almost the same as that for Sultan Ibrahim I Iskandar that appears on the circular Larins dated 1070.  However, the inclusion of what I assume to be the regnal year 17 would date this coin to the year 1075AH, as this Sultan came to power in 1058AH (1648AD).  He reigned until his death 1098AH (1687AD).

While I am sure of the obverse legend I have had no success with interpreting the reverse legend on the lower image, and am wondering whether anybody can advise me what it might be.  Unfortunately some of the words are partially off-coin to varying extents, but also the toning, especially towards the right, is contributing to the confusion.

Peter B

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Wire Larin from Maldives
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2017, 01:14:17 PM »
Great piece, sealladh! There can't be many around that are so clearly attributable. With my very limited knowledge of the script, it looks like your reading is correct. I would hazard that there is a religious text on the other side.

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

Offline THCoins

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Re: Wire Larin from Maldives
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2017, 09:18:48 PM »
Indeed a very nice aquisition, congratulations !
Unfortunately i can not contribute anything worthwile on the legend on the bottom photo.

Offline Afrasi

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Re: Wire Larin from Maldives
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2017, 11:43:35 PM »
Absolutely wonderful piece ! ! !  :D :D :D

Offline EWC

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Re: Wire Larin from Maldives
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2017, 09:22:56 AM »
I have almost no knowledge of Maldive coins,,,, (rubbish redacted - RT)

Also the weight of the piece you showed seemed surprisingly high.  I assumed Larins started out at about 5.1g around 1500 in Persia, and the weight standard dropped thenceforward.  That seems to fit with GG BJ37.  But I never checked into the matter myself.  Am sure you are better informed than I, so would be pleased to get comment

Rob
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 12:25:37 PM by EWC »

Offline sealladh58

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Re: Wire Larin from Maldives
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2017, 11:27:42 AM »
Thank you for all your replies.  I was wondering if the reverse inscription was some sort of religious text, such as the Kalima, but I am nowhere near expert enough in Arabic to be able even attempt to work out what it might be.

I did notice that the weight was significantly higher than other Wire Larins I have in my collection, but assumed the minters had just made a mistake.

I am not familiar with Stan Goron's book, so do not know what dates he quotes for this Sultan, but I have taken my dates from a number of other authoritative sources.  Although the dates here are as in Tim Browder's book, Maldive Islands Money, he is in agreement with other sources as well.  However, with some of the later Sultans he does vary somewhat from the historical facts, to the extent that he attributes certain coins to the wrong Sultan.

Peter B

Offline EWC

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Re: Wire Larin from Maldives
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2017, 12:13:02 PM »
Thanks.  Forget what I said about rulers - need to put my brain in gear before I write!

However, the original Persian Larins dies were just the ordinary dies used on the normal coinage.  And I think those larins were very clearly just a method of  getting bullion into  official standard weight units, at minimum effort to the mint.  Hence the shape. 

To be a long way overweight would be unusual even for Sefavid silver coins, and especially unusual I think  for Sefavid larins.  This piece is contemporary with the big Issue from Bijapur, and I think they weigh even lower

I think Stan Goron is active on Facebook groups somewhere?  I am not, but if anyone wants to contact him I would be interested in his opinion on this item.  Are there any other Maldive issued larin shaped larins at all?
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 02:28:29 PM by EWC »

Offline sealladh58

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Re: Wire Larin from Maldives
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2017, 04:20:16 PM »
Maybe this overweight fact will be worrying.  I have been checking my other Wire Larins.  The two from Bijapur are about 4.7g, while the only confirmed Sefavid specimen I have is 4.90g.  My Ceylon fish-hook specimens are even lower in weight at between 4.5g and 4.8g.

It is difficult to be sure what other Maldivian Digu (Long) Larins have been issued, as I have had to rely on relatively poor quality pictures of poorly engraved or struck specimens.  The only ones I can be fairly certain of are those of Sultan Muhammad 'Imad ad-Din I (1029-1058AH, 1620-1648AD) and his son Ibrahim I Iskandar (1058-1098AH, 1648-1687AD).  However, none of those few coins I am aware of are of the same quality of engraving as my specimen, or have the same legend.  There is an eye-witness account of such Larins being struck during the reign Sultan Ibrahim III (993-1027AH, 1585-1609AD), but so far I am not aware of any confirmed specimens surviving.

Like you, EWC, I am not active on Facebook, but if anyone does want to contact Stan Goron, or anybody else, for their opinion on my piece then I would be grateful.

Peter B

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Wire Larin from Maldives
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2017, 04:37:55 PM »
I suggest a PM to capnbirdseye (Vic). He's a good networker and active on Facebook.

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