Cairo Egypt Gold Coin Ottoman Zeri Mahbub or Beloved Gold AH 1143 xxvi - AD 1730 Mahmud I - BU
Description: Gold Zeri Mahbub (Beloved Gold) coin struck in Egypt during the reign of Mahmud I who ascended the throne in 1740 AD (1143 AH). The coin was struck in the period 1730-1754 AD (1143-1168 AH). The coin shows the date clearly as 1143 AH, which is Mahmud'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. It 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 has Mahmud's Toughra and the words "Ezat Nasruh Duriba Fee Misr Sanat 1143" and has a grape between two arrows to the right of toughra, while the reverse reads "Sultan al-Barain wa Khaqan al-Bahrain, al-Sultan Ibn al-Sultan." The coin has the initial letters "ragib" over the letter "Noun" in the word ibn on the reverse making it the AH 1143xxvi variant, which is rather scarce. The coin is brilliant uncirculated and is absolutely great looking with a well centered strike. Please carefully review the scan as it is part and parcel of our description.
Date: Marked 1143 AH or 1730 AD.
Mint: Misr current day Fustat on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt.
Size and Weight: This is a zeri mahbub, weighs 2.6 grams and is about 20 mm in diameter.
References: It is KM 88 and is not listed in Kazan or in Lane Poole's Catalog of the Khedivial Collection.
Condition: I would grade this coin as brilliant uncirculated or much better. Actually I would categorize the coin as being mint state, with its original mint luster and a well centered and bold strike with all the details being clear and very well readable. The coin is much better than the scan suggests. This is a quality coin of a scarce variety and very seldom seen in such beautiful state. 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.