Scarce Cairo Egypt Gold Coin Ottoman Half Zeri Mahbub or Beloved Gold AH 1187 Year (119) 2 - AD 1778 Abdul Hamid I- VF Wavy Flan
Description: Gold Half 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 year (119)2 AH as evidenced by the number 2 above the "noun" in the word "Ibn" on the reverse. This translates to 1778 AD. The obverse of 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 normally did not have the actual year of striking indicated, except for this coin,, which has the number 2 on the reverse. 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 says "All Sultan Abdul Hamid ibn Ahmed Khan Ezat Nasruh Duriba Fee Misr Sanat 1187." The reverse reads "Sultan al-Barain wa Khaqan al-Bahrain, al-Sultan Ibn al-Sultan." The coin has the number 2 over the letter "Noun" in the word ibn on the reverse making it the AH 1192 variant. The coin is a good very fine with a wavy flan and is good looking with a well centered strike and a nice off round flan. Please carefully review the scan as it is part and parcel of our description.
Date: Marked 1187/(119)2 AH or 1778 AD.
Mint: Misr current day Fustat on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt.
Size and Weight: This is a half zeri mahbub, weighs 1.3 grams and is about 18.5 mm in diameter.
References: It is KM 125.
Condition: I would grade this coin as very fine. The coin retains a bit of its original mint luster and has a well centered and bold strike with all the being clear and very well readable. The coin has a wavy flan and is a bit out of round in shape. The coin has wear to the high points on both the obverse and reverse and areas of flatness, which can be seen in the images presented. Such wear is commensurate with coin's age and circulated state. Additionally, the coin has scratches and bag marks throughout. Other than that the coin is problem free and is beautiful. The coin is much better than the scan suggests. This is a rather scarce coin in this denomination and such examples seldom come by. This is a quality coin of a scarce variety and very seldom seen in such beautiful state. Please see the scan for additional condition information.
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.
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