225. The Khwarazmshahi Gold 10 Mithqal Weight Dinar

Ghazna, Afghanistan, AH 613 / AD 1216–17 
Weight: 44.48 grams
Size: 4.5 cm diameter

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This rare numismatic masterpiece is one of two known examples that were struck by the Khwarazmshah ‘Ala al-Din Muhammad bin Takash (1200–1220) to celebrate his capture of the city of Ghazna. The other example is in the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, dated ah 618, the year Genghiz Khan destroyed Ghazna.

Such coins were not meant for circulation, but as gifts to members of the royal court. Most other large medallion-sized coins of the time were taken from moulds, because the dies required to strike such coins quickly broke from the force of the strikes. This coin probably passed briefly into the hands of ‘Ala al-Din’s son, Jalal al-Din Mangubarni: briefly, because he made the mistake of ordering the murder of the envoys sent to his court by Genghiz Khan.

Inscriptions: Obverse, outer margin: ‘This dinar was struck in the city of Ghazna in the year 613.’

Obverse, inner circle: ‘In the name of the greatest Sultan Allah al-Dunya wa al-Din Abu-al-Fateh Muhammad bin Sultan.’

Reverse, outer margin: ‘Muhammad the Messenger of Allah who sent him with guidance and the religion of truth that he might make it supreme over all other religions even though polytheists may detest it.’ Qur’an ix, 33

Reverse, middle circle: ‘There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger. Al-Nasir Allah leader of the believers [the Caliph in Baghdad].’ Between the circles: ‘God is pure’, repeated three times (a Sufi zikr).

Provenance: Private collection, UK