Numismatics 2016-02-03T10:10:31+00:00

The massive gold coin (LNS 12376 N), unique in the world, weighs nearly 12 kg. It was struck at the mint in Lahore described on the coin as “Zarb Dar-us-Sultanat Lahore” in the Year 1048 of the Hijra Calendar (corresponding to 1638-39 A.D.) It was the emperor’s custom to give large coins as special gifts to dignitaries, and the 1000-mohur type was apparently an innovation on Jahangir’s part; but by all indications very few of this weight were ever struck. Among Jahangir’s accounts (in his memoirs) of his presentation of large gold coins, he records only one of this size (this in his eighth regnal year). That it was not a ‘one-off’, however, is shown by the fact that the coin described cannot be the present piece. The presentation of that coin (given to Yadgar ‘Ali, the ambassador of Shah ‘Abbas the Great of Iran) was in the year 1021 AH, whereas this example, the largest known gold coin in the world, is dated 1022 AH.

The second large gold coin (LNS 8715 N) was minted in the names of two brothers, both as Ghurid rulers of different realms, Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad ibn Sam (558-599 AH/1163-1203 CE) and Mu`izz al-Din Muhammad ibn Sam (567-602 AH/1171–1206 CE). In addition to their names it bears the Islamic profession of faith (the Shahada). These two brothers ruled the Ghurid domains of Afghanistan and Eastern Iran jointly at the time of its greatest extent, stretching almost from the Caspian Sea to North India.

The gold dinar (LNS 251 N) is extremely rare; only about four of the type are known to exist. These constitute the earliest fully developed Islamic coin issue. The piece was probably struck at Damascus, the capital of the Umayyad caliphate during the rule of the caliph ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (r. 65-86 AH/685-705 CE). The obverse bears the profession of faith (the Shahada) and a phrase from the Qur’an concerning the revelation of the divine word to the Prophet Muhammad; the reverse with Qur’an chapter CXII (al-Ikhlas) and 77 AH, the year in which it was struck.

View some of the collection below.