Cairo Egypt Gold Coin Mamluk Ashrafi 842- 857 AH / 1438-1453 AD Al-Zahir Abu Sa'id Jaqmaq
Description: A gold coin from Jaqmaq (Al-Zahir Abu Sa'id), who ruled Egypt and Syria during the period 842- 857 AH (1438-1453 AD). Jaqmaq is from the Circassian Burji Mamluk dynasty. Although most of the mint name is off the flan, one can discern parts of the word Al-Qahira current day Cairo in Egypt. However, the date of minting is off the flan and cannot be discerned. Please carefully review the photos presented as they are part and parcel of our description.
Date: Date off flan, struck in the period 842- 857 AH (1438-1453 AD).
Mint: Al-Qahira current day Cairo the Capital of Egypt.
Size and Weight: This is an Ashrafi, weighs 3.4 grams (gold value at current prices of over $120) and is 14.5 mm in diameter. The Ashrafi is a standard 3.3 to 3.5 gram coin of high purity gold (over 22K) and standard weight minted after the Venetian ducats. This type of coin was established by Al-Ashraf Barsbay, who ruled from 1422-1438 AD and instituted monetary reform during his reign.
References: It is Album #1006 and is listed in Balog #734. The coin is listed in Lane Poole's Catalog of the Khedivial Collection as 1571-77.
Condition: I would grade this coin as a good fine or better. The coin itself is much better than the scan shows with very well defined and legible calligraphy. The obverse shows wear and the calligraphy is not as sharp as the reverse but is still legible. The reverse shows less wear than the obverse. Other than that the coin is problem free and is very nice for the typr. A definite quality coin, which would make a nice addition to your collection. Please see the photos for additional condition information.
Historic Perspective: The word Mamluks in Arabic means "owned", hence their nickname "Slave Kings". They succeeded the Ayyubids and ruled Egypt and Syria for about 250 years. They had been recruited by the Ayyubids and then, like the Turkish mercenaries of the Abbasid caliphs, had usurped power from their enfeebled masters. Unlike their predecessors, however, they were able to maintain their power, and they retained control of Egypt until the Ottoman conquest in 1517. Militarily formidable, they were also the first power to defeat the Mongols in open combat in 1260, at Ayn Jalut near Nazareth in Palestine.
The Mamluk sultans are usually divided into two dynasties, the Bahris (1250 - 1382 AD), chiefly Turks and Mongols, and the Burjis (1382 - 1517 AD), chiefly Circassians. These names arise from the location of the barracks of the Mamluks within the city of Cairo (Al Kahira). Those originating from the barracks on an island in the Nile are Bahari (sea dwellers) and those who were in the towers are the Burjis (the tower dwellers). The Bahri sultans were usually selected from a few chief families, but during Burji times there was scant respect for hereditary principle in the selection of rulers. Neither dynasty was able to exercise more than a limited power over the turbulent Mamluk soldiers. The sultans reigned, on average, less than seven years and usually met violent ends. In spite of the dangers that threatened the sultans at home, they usually conducted a vigorous foreign policy. They defeated the last of the Crusaders and repulsed the Mongol invasion of Syria. At times they held all Palestine and Syria and the holy places of Arabia. Even after the Ottomans occupied Egypt they wheeled quite a bit of power until Mohammad Ali massacred the last of them at the Cairo Citadel in the early 1800's.