A coin from an obscure series

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Valentinian, Jun 22, 2021.

  1. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Here is an obscure coin type:

    18 mm (the firm I bought it from misdescribed it as 12 mm; I'm happy it was actually larger) and 1.54 grams.

    Unless you saw this same coin in the auction I bought it from, I'll bet you have not seen one before. I doubt many collectors care at all about the series, and, really, I don't either! I bought it for the "rabbit". The only evidence I have that it is a rabbit is what I see; I have no book reference and neither did the seller. Maybe it is a donkey. Steve Album, the Islamic coin expert, is a friend and when I asked him about it he tentatively attributed it to the Golden Horde, Sultan Al-A'zan. They were originally Mongols and then Turkic in the 13th and 14th centuries north and east of the Black and Caspian seas. I think he could read the legend, but I have been unable to find a reference to that sultan (Maybe on the web it is not spelled that way?)

    It has no "Album number." Steve told me that Golden Horde coinage has very many types and almost all the literature is in Russian and hardly known in the west. If anyone has anything they can contribute about this obscure type, chime in!

    Every once in a while I acquire something really obscure. I don't know what to make of it. Why did I even bid? Well, I like to do research on types and series I don't know. This one may be a bit too extreme--I haven't found sources that would enable me to learn about it.

    If you have something obscure to show, this would be a good thread for it.
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  3. THCoins

    THCoins Well-Known Member

    al-A'zan is not a name. It reads al-Sultan /al-a'zam, which just means "the great Sultan".
    I do like the naive portrayal of the animal !
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  4. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you! That helps.
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  5. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Very nice! I have personally never gotten much into Islamic coins, but I do have a handful of figural types.

    One of my favorite related "obscure" coins that I sold a few years back to a more appreciative collector:

    Probably Ilkhans, citing Abu Sa'id
    AE Fals (with a ton of impurities that make it look billon)
    Seljuq kaykhusraw ii lion half dirham.jpg

    Extremely rare, was able to find only one other
  6. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

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  7. THCoins

    THCoins Well-Known Member

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  8. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Here's an Islamic coin from my old folders. I have four others of the same type but I don't know to what era they belong.

    StarKing O.jpg StarK R.jpg
  9. THCoins

    THCoins Well-Known Member

    @7Calbrey Your coin is Ayyubid, al-malik al-Zahir Ghazi.

    Adding another obscure central Asian goat:

    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
  10. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    I posted the following coin previously, but with no clues. Later I found out that it's a "Talsam". Talsam in Arabic means Mystery !

    Signs O           IslArab.jpg Sign R Islam          Talsam.jpg
  11. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    Yes, they are pretty obscure! Coin series from central Asia are unlikely to be collected or known to US collectors. For those of us who like historical connections, they lack desirable features. They are not artistic. We can't read the legends. We don't know the history of the rulers or even of the region--even if we know which rulers and region the coin is from, which we often don't. For example, the OP coin is not attributed to a particular ruler or region.

    Maybe someday some Russian will write and illustrate a comprehensive work on central Asian coins and someone will translate it into English. (Don't hold your breath!)
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  12. THCoins

    THCoins Well-Known Member

    The "talsam" coin is undoubtedly Mamluk by design.
    As for those obscure areas: quite a lot of progress is still made every year in knowledge on these series. I like to be able to do some exploration of unknown territories, and it can be done cheaply from my armchair !
  13. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Some non-Islamic obscure series:

    Unknown AE11, presumed to be Kushan-related due to the style of the reverse figure's clothing. Never seen anything remotely close to this one.
    imgonline-com-ua-twotoone-1TOCds4BDIrzlKi1 (1).jpg

    Another mystery AR hemiobol sold as "unknown Celtic". The seller had a few more that I regret not snagging, and I haven't seen any more since then
    Celtic AR unknown.jpg

    This one is known, but obscure
    Parthian feudatories (pre-Indo Parthian)
    Tanlis Mardates with wife Raggodeme AR drachm
    AFAIK the only kingdom known from only a single denomination from only a single ruler, although similar countermarks appear on imitations of Parthian drachms.
    Tanlis Mardates with Raggodeme AR drachm.jpg

    The Satavahana empire (central India, 200 BC - 300 AD) is pretty obscure to most people, but how about a provincial coin of theirs, presumably from Banavasi - paper thin, with a gibberish legend and replacing the "Ujjain symbol" with a rosette of hollow circles
    Satavahana provincial Banavasi double unit wide flan.jpg
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  14. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    An interesting coin @Valentinian. I have quite a few coins that I like in the obscure category. This one perhaps obscure enough that only 2-3 similar show up in a search of "Narendra” on CT. Khan Narendra AE Bracteate.jpg
    Hunnic Tribes, Alchon Huns, Narana-Narenda, Late 4th-early 5th century AD, Æ Drachm
    Obv: Crowned bust right [holding palm and fruits?]
    Rev: Incuse of obverse
    Ref: M. 1444, Göbl, Hunnen Em. 150
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
  15. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I love this thread!!

    I recently bought what I think is a related coin, an AE pul from the Golden Horde or the Giray Khans. Some of these (@THCoins links the page above) have two fish on them. This one appears to have three:
    I'm not sure what the symbol on the reverse is, but it may be Giray.

    An idea: this reminds me of the obscure series of small AEs from the Kashmir Smast caves, thought to be issued by an autonomous Kidarite/Hunnic group (see Nasim Khan, Coins of Kashmir Smast). I have this scorpion example:
    smast caves.jpg
    All they issued were these little copper coins, and many had Kushan related images - there's a huge variety!

    To add something from Central Asia:
    Chach, 2nd to 4th c. CE - Head of ruler left / Tamga with two dots and Sogdian legend around. This may have been issued by the Kangchu; on zeno, some of these are attributed to a ruler called 'Wanwan' (from reading the Sogdian legend).
  16. THCoins

    THCoins Well-Known Member

    @Finn235 Your (post-)Kushan specimen likely is one from this category:
    This specimen is about the same size as yours also.
  17. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    There's an idea- Which ruler is that? It's on the tip of my tongue but I can't remember offhand.

    On a related note, I also found this one, similarly sized but much cruder- I have it as "Imitative post Kushan"
    Post kushan small AE.jpg
  18. TuckHard

    TuckHard Well-Known Member

    The Kashmir Smast coins are incredibly interesting, that scorpion type is amazing! Does the obverse have script? I really like the scorpion image on that.
  19. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Thanks! It's unclear what's on the obverse, but it doesn't seem to be script. Maybe a mountain? o_O The only other scorpion example I've seen is this one:
    Screen Shot 2021-06-25 at 10.40.01 AM.jpg
    It's not clear what that is either, or if it is the same type.

    Here's a short article on these coins.
  20. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    I have never seen a coin like the one above. Is it possible, that it is from Central Asia, i.e. Uzbekistan for instance?

    I have a bunch of obscure coins from that region. The best of the lot is these two - same type, but different dies

    Screenshot 2021-06-30 at 13.23.45.png

    Screenshot 2021-06-30 at 13.44.55.png
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2021
  21. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    Here is another one, showing some kind of animal:

    Screenshot 2021-06-30 at 13.30.02.png
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