Scarce Islamic Coin Cairo Egypt Fatimid Gold Quarter Dinar Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah
Description: Small gold quarter dinar from Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah the Fatimid Caliph who ruled the Muslim empire in the period 386-411 AH (996 - 1021 AD). Al-Hakim is the eighth caliph of the Fatimid dynasty. His full name being, Abu Ali Al-Mansur Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. This is a beautiful very fine coin with quite a bit of luster, beautiful calligraphy, and a nice bold central strike. Similar to most of al-hakim's coins the calligraphy is a bit difficult to read but one can identify that the obverse has the legend "Al Imam al-Hakim; Abu Aly al-Mansur; Amir al-Muminin". Unfortunately, the legend along the edge is missing. The reverse has the legend "La Ellaha Ella Allah; Muhammad Rasul Allah; Aly Walley Allah" while the legend along the edge is also missing. Be that as it may, this is a beautiful scarce coin which would make a great addition to your collection. Please carefully review the image provided as it is part and parcel of our description.
Date: The date of minting is missing but the coin would have been struck in the period 386-411 AH or 996-1021 AD.
Mint: Off flan but most likely Misr current day Fustat on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt.
Size and weight: This is a quarter dinar, weighs ~1.0 gram and is ~12.5 mm in diameter.
References: It is Album #710, is Wilkes 832, and listed by Nicol as #1347.
Condition: I would grade this coin as very fine or much better. The coin has a well centered bold strike and relatively readable calligraphy. The piece has a well centered strike. The coin does not show the legend along the edges and as such the date and mint are not certain. This coin is much better than the scan shows with relatively well defined and almost legible calligraphy. This is a definite first quality coin deserving a prominent spot in your collection of ancient Fatimid coins. Please see image for additional condition information.
Historic Perspective: The Fatimid Caliphate is a Shi'a dynasty that ruled over the Islamic world of mostly North Africa from 5 January 910 to 1171. The ruling elite of the state belonged to the Ismaili branch of Shi'ism. They are also part of the chain of holders of the office of Caliph, as recognized by most Muslims, the only period in which the Shia Imamate and the Caliphate were united to any degree, excepting the Caliphate of Ali himself. The Fatimids were reputed to exercise a degree of religious tolerance towards non-Ismaili sects of Islam as well as towards Jews and Coptic Christians. The Fatimids had their origins in Ifriqiya (modern-day Tunisia and eastern Algeria) but after the conquest of Egypt about 970 AD, they built the City of Cairo and used it as their Capital.
Abu Ali Al-Mansur Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah reigned in the period of 386-411 AH. His rule was rather capricious punctuated by intermittent periods of persecution of the Christians and the prohibition of Mulkhia, a favorite green soup of the Egyptian populace. He disappeared on 27 Shawwal 411AH or 13 February 1021 and was never found again. It is not certain what happened to him.
The dynasty was founded in 296 AH (909 AD) by Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah, who legitimized his claim through descent from Muhammad by way of his daughter Fatima as-Zahra and her husband Ali ibn-Abi-Talib, the first Shi'a Imam, hence the name al-Fatimiyyen "Fatimid". Abdullah al-Mahdi's control soon extended over all of central Maghreb, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, which he ruled from Mahdia, his newly-built capital in Tunisia.
The Fatimids (Abu Tamim Ma'add al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah) entered Egypt in 358 AH (969AD) , conquering the Ikhshidid dynasty. Eventually they founded a new capital at al-Qahirat "The Subduer" (modern Cairo) - a reference to the appearance of the planet Mars. They continued to conquer the surrounding areas until they ruled from Tunisia to Syria and even crossed over into Sicily and southern Italy. Under the Fatimids, Egypt became the center of an empire that included at its peak North Africa, Sicily, Palestine, Syria, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Yemen and the Hejaz. Under the Fatimids, Egypt flourished and developed an extensive trade network in both the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean (establishing trade and diplomatic ties all the way to China under the Song Dynasty), which eventually determined the economic course of Egypt during the High Middle Ages.
After the decay of the Fatimid political system in the 1160s, the Zengid ruler Nur ad-Din had his general, Saladin, seize Egypt in 1169, forming the Sunni Ayyubid Dynasty.
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