Author Topic: Ghaznavids: Masud-I Bin Mahmud, AR Dirham citing both Al-Qadir and Al-Qaim  (Read 312 times)

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Offline shiblius

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Ghaznavid: Mas’ud AR Dirham, Mint and Date Off-flan, 3.54g, 18.4mm, Album-1621

Citing both the Abbasid Caliph Al-Qadir Billah and his designated heir Al-Qaim B’Amr Allah.

Masud’s reign has an overlap of about two months with the reign of the Abbasid caliph Al-Qadir Billah. Hence, this dirham can be dated to 421/22 AH, however gold issues from Nishapur dated 423 AH citing both Al-Qadir (deceased) as Caliph and Al-Qaim as heir apparent are known. (SARC Auction – 13, Lots 710, 711).  The existence of these dinars increases the margin of error around the 422 AH estimate, and therefore the only safe thing to assume about the date is that the coin was minted in the very early part of Masud’s reign which spanned from 1030-1040 CE (421-432 AH).

The coin legends are as follows:

Obverse:
 Ornate symbol at the top of center field followed by the first part of Shahadah:
لا اله الا الله وحده لا شريك له
La Ilaha Illa Allah wahdahu la sharika lahu
The margin is mostly off-flan and a part of it “duriba hadha dirham   ضرب هذا الدرهم ”  (translation: struck this dirham....) can be seen at 7-11 o clock cc.

Reverse:
Lillah at the top center field
Line-1: Muhammad (PBUH) Rasul Allah (second part of the Shahadah)
Line-2: Al-Qadir Billah
Line-3: Al-Qaim B’Amr Allah
Line-4: Nasir Din Allah (Helper/Supporter of the Religion of Allah, one of the official titles (alqab (singular laqab)) of Mas'ud.


« Last Edit: September 01, 2019, 11:09:37 AM by THCoins »

Offline THCoins

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Interesting piece ! I did not know this type with two caliphs.
Although the mint is off flan here, do you know whether this type is coupled to a specific mint ?
The reason i ask is a different specimen i showed in a previous thread, reproduced below. This is a type from Andaraba, also naming caliph al-Qadir bi'llah. The style seems quite similar ?

Offline shiblius

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@THCoins: Super cool coin.
The calligraphy on the reverse for both coins is almost identical. However, the obverse has some differences: e.g. how the "la لا" is inscribed. Also, almost all Andaraba coins have the mint in the center field. The floral ornament at the top of the center obverse field is seen quite commonly on the so called broad dirhams of Mahmud from Balkh. If I was to speculate, I would attribute the dual Caliph coin to either Balkh or Ghazna, with Ghazna being more probable based on the overall fabric of the coin.

Offline THCoins

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I did not really study the history of the Ghaznavid mints in detail. Just had the general idea that the Northern mints slowly were discarded in favor of Ghazna somewhere around this time. But at this point in time the loss of Balkh to the Seljuks was still several decades away.
Here a Mahmud specimen which the decorative floral element.

Offline shiblius

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Thats a very interesting "broad" dirham.
It has the additional (later) title of Nizam al-Din (trans: organizer of the faith/religion) for Mahmud, which he received from Baghdad in recognition of his suppression of the Karamiyya in Khorasan.
The complete honorifics on the coin are Yamin al-Dawlah Nizam al-Din abu'l Qasim Mahmud.

Offline THCoins

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Agree with the "broad" in parentheses. Should have added the metrics. This specimen is 23 mm at the widest, 3.15 gr. I think it has been clipped a bit, which is a pity, because the edge text was very nicely calligraphed. It is my only specimen of this category, did not encounter these often.
I always thought it very special that we could date some coins quite specifically because of the titles and small details which we can link to known historic events. The Mahmud coinage is a clear example of this.

Offline shiblius

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@THCoins, I found this "broad" dirham of Mahmud, which has a reverse die matching yours (seems identical).
However, the obverse is different. The result of the mismatch is a dirham of Mahmud that does not cite the Abbasid Caliph Al-Qadir Billah. There is die shifting error leading to a region of weakness on the obverse where the date is usually found.

Ghaznavid: Mahmud, AR Broad Dirham, Balkh, date off-flan, 2.93g, 21.3mm. Without the name of the Abbasid Caliph and listing the titles of Mahmud as Yamin al-Dawlah, Nizam al-Din and his kunya Abu'l Qasim.

Offline THCoins

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At first i had difficulties seeing the similarity of the reverse. But i think you are right, there was a die shift during striking which may also have caused the markedly different shape of the floral ornament. On Zeno i encountered another specimen. Again with clear similarities, but also differences. These appear to be scarcer than i thought.