1260-1277 AD Cairo Egypt Islamic Coin Gold Dinar Mamluk Lion Baybars VF++
Description: A gold coin from Baybars I (Al-Zahir Rukn Al-Din), who ruled Egypt and Syria during the period 658-676 AH (1260-1277 AD). Baybars is from the Bahari Mamluk dynasty. The coin shows the mint name as Al Qahira, current day Cairo, the capital of Egypt originally built by the Fatimids. The date of minting is missing. The coin has the famous Heraldic Lion Passant heading left on the obverse. The lion is visible, despite the granular nature of the coin which resulted from being struck from rusted dies. Please carefully review the scan as it is part and parcel of our description.
Date: Date off flan, struck in the period 658-676 AH (1260-1277 AD).
Mint: Minted in Cairo, Egypt.
Size and Weight: This is a gold Dinar, weighs 5.5 grams and is ~22 mm in diameter.
References: It is Album #880 and rates Scarce and is similar to Balog #28 strictly for the legends but not for the decorative accents.
Condition: I would grade this coin as a very fine or much better. The coin itself is much better than the photos suggest with very well defined and legible calligraphy. It has sharp, very readable and distinct writing. The coin was struck using rusted dies and hence the granularity you see. The mint name is not completely clear but can be inferred from what appears to be the letters "BeAlq...." along the edge of the reverse within the margin suggesting al-Qahira or Cairo. A definite quality coin. Please see 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.
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