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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Enigmatic Presentation 10 Dirhams
Second Known

Triton XXII, Lot: 1234. Estimate $20000.
Sold for $47500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ISLAMIC, Mongols. Great Khans. temp. Töregene Khatun. Regent, AH 639-644 / AD 1241-1246. AR 10 Dirhams (32mm, 28.66 g, 9h). In the name of the ‘Abbasid caliph al-Musta’sim billah. al-Kurraman mint. Dated AH 641 (AD 1243/4). al-musta’sim/billah al-’amīr/al-mūminīn in Arabic in three lines; all within linear quadrate border within double linear and pelleted border; ornaments in voids / zuriba hazā/fī al-balad/al-kurraman in Arabic in three lines; all within linear quadrate border within double linear and pelleted border; sanat ihdā wa arba’īn wa sittmi’at (date) in Arabic in voids. Nyamaa –; Album –; ICV –; Zeno 148091 = NGSA VIII, lot 289 (same dies). VF, toned, areas of flat strike. The second to appear at auction.

Previously unpublished until the appearance of the Numismatica Genevensis SA coin, this 10 dirhams represents an important period in Mongol history. Following the Mongol conquest of eastern Afghanistan in AH 618 (AD 1221/2), the inhabitants of al-Kurraman, a river district in what are today the tribal borderlands between Afghanistan and Pakistan, showed their allegiance to the Mongols by striking coinage in the name of the Great Khan. Following the death of Ögedei Khan in AH 639 (AD 1241), a period of turmoil followed over the succession. Ögedei Khan’s wife, Töregene (Turakina) became regent, serving until her son Güyük was elected Great Khan in AH 644 (AD 1246). During this regency, Töregene ruled with complete authority as Great Khatun – female counterpart to the Great Khan.

On this coin, however, neither Töregene's name or title appears. Instead, the Abbasid caliph al-Musta'sim is cited as al-’amīr al-mūminīn – the religious and spiritual authority. During this uncertain period among their Mongol overlords, the al-Kurraman mint may have felt it prudent to strike a non-partisan issue in the name of the current ‘Abbasid caliph. Whether used as tribute to the caliph in Baghdad, as payment for soldiery employed by Töregene, or to buy the loyalty of the locals, these coins were quickly melted and reused, thus making them exceedingly rare. The last known coinage from this mint was struck in the name of the Great Khan Möngke, after which this mint disappears from the numismatic records.