Islamic Silver Coin Very Scarce Mamluk Dirham 783-784 AH /1381-1382 AD Al-Salih Salah Al-Din Hajji II First Reign Aleppo Mint
Description: A rare silver coin from the times of Hajji II (Al-Salih Salah Al-Din) first reign, who is from the Bahari Mamluk dynasty and ruled Egypt and Syria twice with his first reign being in the period 783-784 AH (1381-1382 AD) and his second reign being during the period 791-6792 AH (1389-1390 AD). This is a dirham weighing about 3.6 grams and measuring 19.5 millimeters in diameter. It is in generally fine or better condition with considerable wear and area of strike weakness or flatness in the top of the obverse and left of the reverse. The coin clearly shows the name and title "Al-Sultan ... Al-Saliha Salah al- ... Hajji ... al-Sultan" on the obverse and clearly shows the words "Duribah Bi-Halab La Ilah ella... Muhammad Rassul .... Arsaluh Bel-....." This is Balog #516 which is characterized as very scarce and appears to be the only silver issue during Hajji's first reign. It and is Album 965 with a rarity index R. Please carefully review the scans presented as they are part and parcel of our description.
Date: 783-784 AH (1381-1382 AD).
Mint: Halab or current day Aleppo.
Size and Weight: This is a silver dirham, weighs ~3.6 grams of silver and is ~19.5 mm in diameter.
References: It is Album #965 with a rarity index R, is listed in Balog as 516, and it is listed in Wilkes as 1014.
Condition: This is a very rare coin from the reign of Al-Salih Salah al-Din Hajji II. I would grade this coin as a fine or better. The coin itself is much better than the scan shows with partially defined and legible calligraphy on both the obverse and reverse. The coin clearly shows the name of the ruler and the mint Aleppo. The coin shows considerable wear and has strike weakness or areas of flatness along the top of the obverse and left of the reverse. It is clean and shows the well defined name of al-Salih Salah al-Din Hajji. This is a rare coin and very difficult to come by, 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 of the Cairo Citadel 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.