Cairo Egypt Gold Coin Ottoman Zeri Mahbub or Beloved Gold 1187 AH - 1774 AD Abdul Hamid I - AU
Description: Gold Zeri Mahbub (Beloved Gold) coin struck in Egypt during the reign of Abdul Hamid I who ascended the throne in 1774 AD (1187 AH). The coin was struck in the period 1192 AH as evidenced by the number 2 on top of the noon in the word ibn on the reverse. The coin shows the date clearly as 1187 AH, which is Abdul Hamid's accession date to the throne. Ottoman coins at that time used such a date for most coins struck during a sultan's reign and did not have the actual year of striking indicated. This coin is one of the first coin where a number was used on the reverse to suggest the actual date of striking. The coin also clearly shows the mint as Misr current day Fustat on the outskirt of Cairo the current capital of Egypt. The obverse of the coin says"Sultan Abdul Hamid ibn Ahmed Khan" followed by the words "Ezat Nasruh Duriba Fee Misr Sanat 1187", while the reverse reads "Sultan al-Barain wa Khaqan al-Bahrain, al-Sultan Ibn al-Sultan." The coin has quite a bit of luster left, just a great looking quality coin. Please carefully review the scan as it is part and parcel of our description.
Date: Marked 1178 AH or 1774 AD, but presumed to be struck in 1192 AH.
Mint: Misr current day Fustat on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt
Size and Weight: This is a zeri mahbub, weighs 2.57 grams and is about 21 mm in diameter.
References: It is KM 127 and is listed in Kazan as 841 and is listed in Lane Poole's Catalog of the Khedivial Collection as 1767.
Condition: I would grade this coin as about uncirculated with most of its original mint luster remaining, and a well centered and bold strike. The calligraphy is very readable and is all there. The coin has a crack in the flan which can be seen at 9:00 O'clock on the obverse and 3 O'clock on the reverse, and another small one which can be seen at about 5 O'clock on the reverse. These cracks are original to the minting of the coin and do not distract from its quality and beauty. This is a quality coin Please see photo to appreciate the quality and condition of this beautiful coin.
Historic Perspective: Unlike prior Islamic coins struck in Egypt, Ottoman coins do not have long praying sentences. They contain the name of the Sultan and his father's, name of the mint, the accession date for the Sultan, and a short wishful sentence such as "khullide mulkehu (may his rule be permanent)" or "azzet nasrehu (may his glory be holy)".
The Ottoman Empire existed from 699 AH (1300 AD) till 1341AH (1924 AD). In the beginning, the Ottoman state struck only silver coins known as Akce until the reign of Muhammad II (Mehmet the conqueror). On May 29, 1453, Mehmet II conquered Constantinople, the capital city of the Byzantine Empire. He made it the capital of the Ottoman State and called in Konstantiniye or Qustantinya (current day Istanbul). In 1478 he began striking Gold coins known as Sultani (also known as Dinar, Ashrafi, Funduk, or Altin). He based it on the Venetian ducat standard of 3.5 gram of high purity gold (over 21K).
Egypt was conquered by Selim I in 1517 AD (921 AH) and the mamluk rule was ended. Selim I, began striking coins in Cairo and used the mint name "MISR" on the coins. Although the Ottoman were the official rulers of Egypt the mamluks still wheeled quite a bit of power until Mohammad Ali massacred the last of them at the Cairo Citadel in the early 1800's. The obverse of the coin reads "Al Sultan Suleyman, Ibn Selim Khan, azzet nasrehu, Duriba Fee Misr Sanat 926 (literally translated as The Sultan Suleyman son of sultan Selim khan, may his glory be holy, struck in Egypt in the year 926)."
The Ottoman empire reached the height of its power under Sulayman I the Magnificent, with territory extending across north Africa and through the Balkans into Hungary. Coins were struck in more than forty mints spread throughout the empire. Sulayman was distinguished for his justice and tolerance. His military, educational, and legal reforms earned him the name Sulayman the Lawgiver (al-Kanuni) among Muslims. He was fond of pomp and splendor and was a lavish patron of the arts and of literature.