TRIVIA: Reading and Converting AH dates Easily

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Clinker, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. Clinker

    Clinker Coin Collector

    Reading AH (Muslem Era) dates on Arabic nation's (Arab Emerates, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Yeman, etc.) coinage is easy. Converting from Muslem Era dates to Christian Era (CE) dates is just as easy. Here's the Muslim numerals reading from left to right, high to low:

    Muslim numerals
    ۰ ۱ ۲ ۳ ۴ ۵ ۶ ۷ ۸ ۹

    Two Muslim alphabetic numeric tables evolved from an India numeric system of glyphs. Some Muslim countries use the above symbols exclusively. Some use a different adaptation of 4 and 6. 4 looks like an E or backwards 3; 6 looks like a 7 (the upper tip of the 6 was eliminated). Here's that chart.

    Arabic-Indic Numbers ٠ ١ ٢ ٣ ٤ ٥ ٦ ٧ ٨ ٩

    Some countries employ both adaptations (Arabic-Indic during one year or more, Muslim numerals in other years.

    European or CE numerals are derivations of the AH numerical glyphs. European and other Western nations have repositioned (juxtipositioned) the 2 and 3, enlarged the 4, completely changed 5 through 8 plus the zero, but left 9 as is. The solid dot (solid diamond zero glyph) was changed to the hollow 0 shape, so the CE (Western Arabic or AD) numerals reading left to right, from high to low are:

    Christian Era 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

    Take a look at this Egyptian silver 20 Qirsh Coin. Notice the date just above base of wreath (photo courtesy of Don's World Coin Gallery):

    Its Muslim AH date is ۱ ۳ ۲ ۷ so you now know (from the above AH chart) that the AH date is 1327 in Western Arabic numerals. To ascertain the CE date you can look in your Krause World Coins 1901-2000 catalog and locate "KM310 20 Qirsh." The text reads, "AH 1327 (1910) H." (1910) is the CE (AD) date. H designates the Heaton Mint in Birmingham, England.

    Many modern Islamic coins bear both AH and CE dates on them. A few even use Western glyphs for the CE dates, but most use Muslim glyphs for both dates. Take a look at this Egyptian 10 Piastres bearing both dates in Muslim glyphs (photo courtesy of The AH date is on the right (1397). The CE (AD) date is the one on the left (1977): Notice the large ۱۰ slightly below the center of the coin? They are the Muslim numerals for 10, as this is a 10 Piastres coin.

    Now here's an Egyptian 10 Piastres coin using the Arabic-Indic number glyphs for both CE and AH dates (CE1964 on top obverse and about 7 o'clock on reverse - AH1384 at about 4 o'clock on reverse):

    If you have no catalog or are looking at a coin bearing only one date (like the 20 Qirsh coin dated 1327 here's the formula to easily ascertain the CE date: Multiply the AH date (1327) by .03 (3%) which equals 39.38. Round to nearest whole number (39) Subtract 39 from 1327 which equals 1288. Add 622 to 1288 which equals 1910.

    Easy right? Use this equation to convert any AH date to a CE date:

    AH date times 3% (.03), round amount to nearest whole number, subtract amount from AH date, then add 622.

    Why deduct 3%? The Muslim calendar year is 2.8% (11 days) shorter than the Gregorian (Julian) calendar year. To simpliy the formula we forego the triple digit plus decimal number .028 for the simpler number .03 and round to the nearest whole number.

    Why add 622? The Muslim calendar owes its inception to the CE (AD) year 622, the year Mohammed fled Mecca escaping to Medina avoiding persecution from Koreish tribesmen. AH is actually Anno Hegirae (Jehira - Hegira - Hijira).

    Thought you should know just how easy it is...

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  3. mpcusa

    mpcusa "Official C.T. TROLL SWEEPER" Supporter

    Thanks for the info !!
  4. Clinker

    Clinker Coin Collector

    Hey mpcusa!

    Good to read your comment AND a big T H A N K S!

  5. De Orc

    De Orc Well-Known Member

    Very interesting read Clinker, one thing though LOL any chance you can make the Arabic & Muslim numerals larger for ease of viewing :thumb:
  6. abe

    abe LaminatedLincolnCollector

    This is interesting to know. I have some aribic coins, maybe I can figure it out. What does this mean in southern english? Formulawe Foregothe...
  7. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    That will USUALLY work, but some of the countries, at various time used a SOLAR year calender that does not require subtracting the 3% before adding the 622. These are called SH dates but there is no way of knowing which system is being used from just looking at the coin.

    You also need to make sure you are getting the complete date. On several of the countries that use the AH date the 19th and early 20th century coins often show the date the ruler came to power and then elsewhere on the coin will be a one or two digit number the is the regal year or the year of their reign. So you might have AH 1255 year 7, or really AH 1261 (You add one less than the regal year because when he came to power in 1255 his coins said 1255 year 1. His 1256 coins say year 2 etc so the actual year is always one less than the sum of the ascension year and the regal year.

    There are also a few places/times that use the numerals typically seen on AH using countries use a different calender. For example I believe modern Egyptian coins still use the Arabic-Indic numerals, but the use the same Christian era and solar calender, so their dual date coins have the same date in both numeral types with no conversion needed.
  8. Clinker

    Clinker Coin Collector

    Hi De Orc...

    Went through a lot of trial and error just to get the glyps to show up at all. Almost gave up, but accidentally figured out how to enlarge them as much as they appeared...

  9. Clinker

    Clinker Coin Collector

    Hi Conder101

    Thanks for the addendum... I have my Krause Catalog...

  10. chrisild

    chrisild Coin Collector Moderator

    Agreed. [​IMG] As mentioned here, the conversion is not always "easy", but knowing how it can be done is helpful.

    Since those are actually "text" (ie. not images), you can enlarge them; your web browser will have some "increase/decrease font size" commands somewhere. Of course that will also affect the "Latin" characters ...

    Or simply copy the numerals and paste them into a text file, then play with the font size there. I just did that, and attached is what they look like. (Note that this is an image only, and that the second row is "inverted", ie. zero on the left.) Click on the thumbnail to see the actual image.


    Attached Files:

    • 0to9.jpg
      File size:
      33.2 KB
  11. vipergts2

    vipergts2 Jester in hobby of kings

    I have a few Egyptian coins, I'll have to give it a try. :thumb:
  12. Clinker

    Clinker Coin Collector

    Hi Christian

    Thanks for the info and sharing the results of your enlargements. Just to let everyone know, my attempts to get the numerals to read left to right lowest to highest failed so I settled for highest to lowest.

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