Umayyad perhaps? Identification help is requested.

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DEA, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. DEA

    DEA Well-Known Member

    Hello to all the Ladies and Gentlemen reading this. I'm in need of your assistance. I cannot read Arabic (even standardized) and have been pulling what hair I have left right out of my head.

    Here's what I know. My friend has had this coin for some thirteen years. He obtained it from his daddy-o. Dad reportedly got it in Iran about fifty years ago from someone who said he dug it up. Friend and dad apparently thought or assumed it was gold. I do not think it is gold. I think it is copper; it smells like copper to me. Here are the stats - it weighs 3.60 grams and has a diameter of 23.50 millimeters. My tests for density come to 9.2308, which tells me something with loads of copper (or nickel?) - and maybe something else. Any help or suggestions will be immensely appreciated.

    I don't know if it is authentic. Perhaps a contemporaneous counterfeit? The lettering to me (not experienced with this type and also not the sharpest knife in the drawer) seems less than hardy (bland, not very sharp). But what do I know? I presume it was hammered but still; my hammered medieval Europeans have a better appearance. I'll be glad to provide any data I failed to mention, if I know it.

    ob-rev.jpg obverse.jpg
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  3. Sulla80

    Sulla80 Well-Known Member

  4. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander find me at NumisForums Supporter

    The legends identify it as a dirham minted in Wasit, AH 120 (i.e. 737-738), under the Umayyad Caliph Hisham, who ruled from 724-743. However... in that case it should be silver! It looks to me like it is probably a later cast. (Which I haven't seen before, not that I'm particularly experienced with these.) Another indicator is that it looks too thick, confirmed by the very high weight; they're normally under 3g.

    Here's an old photo of my own Hisham dirham, also minted in Wasit:
    Screen Shot 2019-03-15 at 11.38.56 PM.jpg

    And here's a helpful image of how to read the obverse (different coin, also minted in Wasit, though):

    You'll note that the left side of the obverse is pretty much the same on all three coins, and that yours from 1 o'clock to 4:30 or so matches mine from 1 o'clock to 3:30 - that's the "one hundred and twenty" part, or "mi'at wa ishrin."
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  5. Pellinore

    Pellinore Well-Known Member

    The left coin of this Spink lot is comparable. Maybe your coin was gilt - that would account for its higher weight. It would make it a fantasy or forgery. The coin must have been maltreated at some point with those scratches. The part where it says 'dirham', at 7 o'clock in the left picture is conveniently much worn, so you might think it could be a dinar. But Umayyad dinars look different, and they were not issued in Wasit.
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  6. DEA

    DEA Well-Known Member

    Thanks to all for either new information or confirmation of what I could figure out.

    @Sulla80 - great URLs (hereby bookmarked). But it's not gold. As @Severus Alexander pointed out, it should be silver, which was the direction my research had taken me, causing me utter confusion. Sweet "helpful image," Severus, thank you so dang much! I appreciate tremendously the interpretation - who, what, when and where concluded. At least per the coin itself. I wonder if I'll find something similar - as Pellinore made clear to me - most likely fantasy or forgery.

    And @Pellinore thanks for the URL. You're correct, but I wonder what those fantasy coins went for. Too bad acsearch wants all that money to find out. You are also dead on with your observation about careless treatment; that was my first observation when I saw the coin. However, the 'darkness' at or inside of those hacks, dings and scratches, especially the one at twelve o'clock on the obverse provided darn near conclusive evidence that it was not gold.

    Y'all are great! You solidified my optimism that I would get answers or at least clues by posting here. I so wish I had known of cointalk years ago.
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  7. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander find me at NumisForums Supporter

    That lot went unsold. :(

    Does it look gilt? i.e. is it a golden colour on the surface (is the photo accurate?), but coppery or bronzey inside?
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  8. DEA

    DEA Well-Known Member

    I'm not too confident what gilt looks like but yeah, the photos are very fair and accurate. Without causing any further damage but peering closing at the chops, the color inside is the color of a bronze cent exposed to the environment for many years. However, based on my presumption and then my density calculations, I was surprised not to find any verdigris anywhere. Not a hint. On the other hand, he's had it in a cloth jewelry bag for about as long as he's possessed it. I should ask him how his dad stored it . . . .
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  9. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    @DEA.. If your coin is rather a fake or an imitation what so ever, then please take my advice. Your "friend" is not authentic either.
  10. DEA

    DEA Well-Known Member

    Golly. It's not like that. Your advice is bordering on the paranoid in this case. My friend is very authentic and honest. There's no attempt at a scam. The only scamming going on happened to his father many years ago.
  11. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Well that's possible. Then I may apologize to your friend. Cheers..
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