Classical Numismatic Group > Islamic Auction 1Auction date: 25 May 2022
Lot number: 163

Price realized: 3,000 USD   (Approx. 2,797 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
Lot description:


Ikhshidids. Abu'l-Qasim Unujur. AH 334-349 / AD 946-960. AV Donative Dinar (26.1mm, 4.24g, 8h). Misr mint. Dated AH 346 / AD 957/8. With letter kaf for Kafur below the fifth line of obverse field. Cf Bacharach 64, for a standard dinar of this mint and date. Near EF. Excessively rare.

Ex Morton & Eden Auction 54 (23 April 2012), lot 114. The year AH 346 appears to be a particularly rare date for Ikhshidid coinage from Egypt, with only a single specimen recorded by Bacharach (unfortunately the diameter of this piece is not noted).

The letter kaf below the reverse is generally accepted as an abbreviation for the name of Kafur, an Abyssinian eunuch who had been bought as a slave by Muhammad al-Ikhshid 'from the sellers of oil for eighteen dinars.' While it is possible that Kafur himself may already have held de facto power in Egypt and Palestine for a decade before this coin was struck, Bacharach argues that it was only in AH 346 that Kafur felt able to allude to his power by placing the first letter of his name on the coinage. This beautiful coin, which was carefully struck on a specially-prepared, broad flan, may have been specially struck to promote Kafur's new status.


Starting price: 5000 USD

Match 1:
Classical Numismatic Group > Islamic Auction 1Auction date: 25 May 2022
Lot number: 198

Price realized: 7,000 USD   (Approx. 6,525 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
Lot description:


Great Seljuks. Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad I Tapar. AH 491-511 / AD 1105-1118. EL Dinar (20.7mm, 3.34g, 8h). Harat mint. Dated AH 498 / AD 1104/5. Obverse: Six-line legend citing the 'Abbasid caliph al-Mustazhir billah and the Seljuk heir Sanjar b. Malikshah within a double linear border surrounded by two dragons, with open mouths, approaching a facing bucranium; traces of Qur'an ix:33 around. Reverse: Five-line legend citing the Seljuk ruler Muhammad b. Malikshah mint and date legend around; all within a border formed by two dragons, with open mouths, with a triangular object between them; traces of shahada around. 'The Shah Firzan Heritage of Islamic Coins', p. 53 (this piece). Good VF. Excessively rare.

The legends on this remarkable coin are relatively conventional. The names of the two Seljuk brothers, Muhammad I and Sanjar, appear on the reverse and obverse respectively, and that of the 'Abbasid caliph is prominently positioned above that of Sanjar on the obverse. Neither is there anything very unusual or surprising about the religious legends, which are much as one might find on any other Seljuk dinar of the period. But the imagery and symbolism, bewildering in their variety and richness, are radically different from what one finds on standard Islamic coins.

On both obverse and reverse, two dragons converge above the field, their jaws gaping. Those on the obverse are approaching a facing bull's head as if to devour it; the shape of the horns is matched by the stylised lam-alifs in the kalima on the top line of the field. To the left of the field is what appears to be an elaborate bow, which was the Seljuk symbol of sovereignty, and to the right is what appears to be either a branch or, possibly, a stylised arrow. The bow symbol appears on other Seljuk dinars, but the depiction here is particularly ornate. Between the mouths of dragons at the top of the reverse field is a triangular object containing a pellet, whose significance remains unclear. At the top of the field, what appears to be a tamgha is superimposed on the word Allah. Another tamgha, or possibly a stylised human figure, is to the left of the legends in the field, while another branch-like symbol is placed to the right. At the bottom of the field is another object which resists precise identification: it may simply be decorative, but it has also been suggested that it may depict the horned head of another animal.

Various parallels for the dragons have been suggested, including possible influence from China, Sufi mysticism, and the symbol of the ouroboros serpent. But it is the way in which this complex array of imagery intertwines with the coin's otherwise orthodox Islamic legends which is particularly fascinating, exemplifying the many strands of thought which met in mediaeval Afghanistan.


Starting price: 5000 USD

Match 2:
Classical Numismatic Group > Islamic Auction 2Auction date: 27 October 2022
Lot number: 277

Price realized: This lot is for sale in an upcoming auction - Bid on this lot
Lot description:


Saffarids. Tahir b. Khalaf. AH 390-392 / AD 1000-1002. AV Dinar (24.5mm, 3.81 g, 11h). Sijistan mint. Dated AH 391 (AD 1000/1). Obverse field: citing the Saffarid ruler as Tahir in fourth line / Reverse field: citing Mahmud of Ghazna as Yamin al-Dawla Abu'l-Qasim in fourth and fifth lines. Album B1424. Good VF. Extremely rare.

Mahmud of Ghazna launched a surprise attack on Sistan in AH 390, forcing Khalaf b. Ahmad, the Saffarid amir, to offer a huge sum of money in exchange for peace. Khalaf hoped that his son, Tahir b. Khalaf, might be able to waylay Mahmud on his return,but Tahir was unable to ready his forces in time and Mahmud escaped unmolested. Rather than return to face his father's fury, Tahir rebelled against Khalaf and entered Zaranj, where this handsome dinar was struck, in AH 391. Khalaf withdrew to the nearby fortress of Taq, where he was soon besieged by Tahir. But Khalaf managed to trick his son into meeting him alone and unarmed, promptly imprisoned him, and killed him in AH 392.


Estimate: 2500 USD

Match 3:
Classical Numismatic Group > Islamic Auction 2Auction date: 27 October 2022
Lot number: 299

Price realized: This lot is for sale in an upcoming auction - Bid on this lot
Lot description:


Buwayhids (Buyids). 'Imad al-Din Marzuban Abu Kalijar. AH 415-440 / AD 1024-1048. AV Dinar (21.5mm, 3.18 g, 4h). Amul mint. Dated AH 438 (AD 1046/7). Obverse field: Shah / la ilaha illa Allah / wahdahu la sharik lahu / Shahanshah al-A- / 'zama malik al-A- / rd / Reverse field: lillah / Muhammad rasul Allah / al-Qa'im bi-amr allah / Fakhr Din Allah / Sultan Din Allah / Abu Kalijar / Buwayh. VF. Of the highest rarity, apparently unpublished and believed unique.

Ex Morton & Eden 85 (27 April 2017), lot 114.

This unrecorded coin sheds new light on the history of Amul during the fifth century. Writing in 1967, Stern knew of no coins from Amul for the century between AH 388 (a Buwayhid dirham) and AH 486 (a Seljuq dinar). Since then three dinars of Amul dated AH 437, 439 and 441 have come to light (see Diler p. 27), all struck in the name of the Great Seljuq ruler Tughril Beg. This suggests that Stern was correct to assume that Amul came under Seljuq control during the course of the 5/11th century. The present piece, however, demonstrates that the Buwayhid Abu Kalijar was able to strike coins in his name in Amul for at least this one year during this period of Seljuq rule. It may have been this that prompted the Seljuqs themselves to issue coins there at this time and thereby confirm their own authority, given that Amul otherwise seems to have been largely inactive as a mint for the decades between AH 390-480.

Estimate: 1500 USD

Match 4:
Classical Numismatic Group > Islamic Auction 2Auction date: 27 October 2022
Lot number: 315

Price realized: This lot is for sale in an upcoming auction - Bid on this lot
Lot description:


Timurids. Sultan Husayn. Third reign, AH 873-911 / AD 1469-1506. AV Double Ashrafi (26mm, 9.53 g, 2h). Harat mint. Dated AH 894 (AD 1488/9). Reverse: al-sultan al-a'zam / al-sultan Husayn / al-ghazī / abu sultan / Bahadur - mulkahu / khallada Allah ta'ala / sultan 894; in central cartouche: bih bud Harat. Cf. Triton XXI (9 January 2018), lot 952 (dated AH 895). Pierced. Good VF. Of the highest rarity, apparently unpublished.

While the Timurids struck an abundant silver coinage, gold Timurid coins are excessively rare. This handsome and impressive piece was almost certainly struck for presentation at the Timurid court, and this doubtless accounts for it having been pierced for wearing.



Sultan Husayn Bayqara encouraged and presided over a brilliant cultural and political life in Harat, whose 'beh bud' ('prosperity') motto is proclaimed on the reverse of this coin. He became famous for the artistic excellence of his surviving buildings, and also as a patron of the arts, who encouraged the intellectual and artistic life of Harat and wrote his own poetry in both Persian and Turkish. Despite the words Allah ta'ala ('God the most high') on the obverse of this coin, Husayn Bayqara was not a religious zealot. He issued Sunni coins in Sunni areas and Shi'ite coins in Twelver Shi'a areas, and offended the pious with his neglect of the prescribed prayers, refusal to fast and enjoyment of wine. By AH 906 (1500/1) this style of rule made the fall of the Timurids inevitable. The Uzbek Sunni ruler Muhammad Shaybani conquered Samarkand, while the Sh''ite Shah Isma'il I laid the foundations of the great Safavid empire. One year after his death, the Shaybanis entered Herat and Husayn Bayqara's sons fled the city.

Estimate: 10000 USD

Match 5:
Classical Numismatic Group > Islamic Auction 2Auction date: 27 October 2022
Lot number: 294

Price realized: This lot is for sale in an upcoming auction - Bid on this lot
Lot description:


Kangarids. Wahsudan b. Muhammad. Circa AH 343 / AD 954-955. AV Double Dinar (19.5mm, 9.10 g, 3h). Jalalabad mint. Dated AH 343 (AD 954/5). Obverse margin: Muhammad - 'Ali - al-Hasan - al-Husayn - 'Ali - Muhammad - Ja'far - Isma'il - Muhammad (the names of the Prophet and the Seven Isma'ili Imams)
Obverse field: la ilaha illa / Allah Muhammad / rasul Allah / Reverse margin: mint and date
Reverse field: 'Ali khalifat / Allah (with isolated letters 'ayn, ba and kaf above) / Wahsudan bin / Muhammad; to right and left: Sayf - Al Muhammad. Cf. Vardanyan 149 (a dirham with similar legends, ascribed to the Sallarids); Album K1488 (as Kangarid).
. Small edge knock. Good VF. Excessively rare.

This beautiful, impressive and excessively rare coin bears the names of the Seven Isma'ili Imams alongside that of the Prophet himself. While Vardanyan only knew of silver examples of this type, he assigned them to the Sallarid ruler named Wahsudan b. Muhammad, rather than to the less historically well-known Kangarid ruler of the same name. Isma'ilism became embedded in the region of Daylam during the 4/10th century, and contemporary written sources tell us much of the Isma'ili beliefs of the Sallarid ruler, al-Marzuban b. Muhammad (circa AH 330-346). It is notable that the final name in the list of imams is that of Muhammad b. Isma'il, and that there is no mention of the contemporary Fatimid caliph, al-Mu'izz.



Album is surely correct in his suggestion that both the dinars and dirhams of this type were struck for presentation purposes. The location of Jalalabad is unknown, although the name is probably to be intepreted as 'City of Glory.' The Kangarid capital was at Shamiram, a mountain fortress to the north of Qazwin.

Estimate: 40000 USD