A Samanid crown size silver coin from Afghanistan 1000 years old

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by willieboyd2, Apr 1, 2020.

  1. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    I have this coin from the Islamic Samanid empire which is as large as a US silver dollar and have been researching it while staying at home.

    Samanid Multiple Dirham Nuh II Kurat (No date)
    Silver, 44 mm, 11.17 gm
    Ruler: This coin was minted under the rule of Emir Nuh II whose reign was AH 365 to 387 (AD 976-997).
    Mint: Kurat, located near Fayzabad, Badakhshan province, northeast Afghanistan

    Field: Islam Kalima "There is no god except Allah. He is Alone. There is no partner to Him"
    Ring outer: Quran Surah 30:4 "Of Allah is the Command from before and from after and on that day the believers shall rejoice in the victory of Allah"
    Ring inner: In the name of God, this dirham was struck in Kurat
    Ring outside top: Ayyar (warrior)
    Ring outside bottom: Jayyid (good)

    Field: Allah / Muhammad / Messenger of Allah / Nuh2
    Ring outer: Quran Surah 9:33 "Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. He sent him with the Guidance and a religion of the truth in order that he might cause it to be bright over the religion, although the polytheists disliked it"
    Ring outside top: three dots
    Ring outside bottom: one dot

    These coins, called multiple dirhams, were minted in the 10th century AD in northeast Afghanistan in an area located on the north slopes of the Hindu Kush mountains where a lot of silver was discovered and mined.

    A situation developed similar to the 1850's when the US mints began minting larger size gold coins to accommodate the gold coming from California.

    The ultimate customer for these coins were the Scandinavian Vikings via Russian trading posts, and large hoards of Samanid dirhams have been found in Sweden and Norway.

    Could this coin be the first crown-size silver coin minted?

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  3. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I own a few. They are horribly thin, which may be why the strikes are usually not very good.

    It might be the first crown sized diameter coin struck, (except for Octodrachms and other rare pieces), but I wonder what the definition of a crown is. These are not as heavy as tetradrachms which were minted in the tens or hundreds of millions. So, is a crown only diameter, or does it assume weight as well? In my mind, a crown is somewhere north of 20 grams, but wonder what others think.
  4. jgenn

    jgenn World Crown Collector

    To me, crown-like coins need have similar characteristics to the silver English crown from the 16th-17th century.

    From Wikipedia: "The silver crown was one of a number of European silver coins which first appeared in the 16th century, all of which were of a similar diameter (about 38 millimetres) and weight (approximately one ounce)[troy?], so were more or less interchangeable in international trade."


    "the English silver crown, one of many silver coins that appeared in various countries from the 16th century onwards, the most famous example perhaps being the famous Spanish pieces of eight, all of which were of a similar size and weight (approx 38mm diameter and containing approx 25 grams of fine silver) and thus interchangeable in international trade."

    Certainly an international merchant would not consider the OP's coin to be interchangeable with English crowns or 8 reales.

    Today's numismatic definition of "crown" may be quite different from that of the international merchant of previous centuries, however. I have included two coins in my world crown collection that fall short of this standard, a debased Colombian 8 reales and an Ottoman yuzluk.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
  5. Gallienus

    Gallienus Well-Known Member

    I love the research behind this coin of yours. Certainly at 44 mm it must be quite impressive. Also of interest is the translation of the legends and the fact that you provided wt, date, translation of all inscriptions, diameter, and mint location. I've never known about the multiple dirhems.
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