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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
11001235
Triton XXII, Lot: 1235. Estimate $10000.
Sold for $6000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ISLAMIC, Persia (Post-Mongol). Timurids. Sultan Husayn. Third reign, AH 873-911 / AD 1469-1506. AV Double Ashrafi (27mm, 9.50 g, 3h). Presentation issue. Harat (Herat) mint. Dated AH 895 (AD 1489/90). The kalimat aṭ-ṭaiyibah: l'lā ilāha illā -llāh, muḥammadur rasūlu -llāh (there is no god except Allah, [and] Muhammad [is] he messenger of Allah) in four lines; all within ornate linear angled hexalobe; in outer margin within ornate linear border, abū bakr al-sadīq ‘umar al-fārūq ‘uthmān al-ghān[ī] ‘alī al-murtazā (Abū Bakr the Faithful Witness ‘Umar the Discriminator between Right and Wrong ‘Uthman the Self-Sufficient Ali the Chosen) / al-sultān al-a’zam/al-sultān husain/al-ghāzī/abū sultanāhu/bahādur mulkahu/khallad allah te’ālā/sultanāhu (the sultan, the great, the warrior, Husayn abu’l-ghazi, brave. May Allah perpetuate his reign and sultanate) in seven lines; in center within linear angled dilobe, bah bud Herat (it is good(?) Herat); AH date in eastern Arabic numerals to lower left. SICA 9, –; Album –; ICV –; Zeno 148094 = Numismatica Genevensis SA VIII, lot 292 (pierced for suspension); Triton XXI, lot 952 (same). VF, areas of flat strike at periphery, holed for suspension. Extremely rare.


Although the Timurids struck an abundant silver coinage, with both Sunni and Shi'a religious legends, examples of their gold coinage are excessively rare. Presumably this coin, with its outstandingly graceful calligraphy, was struck for ceremonial occasions. Husayn Bayqara chose to encourage and preside over a brilliant cultural and political life in Harat, whose "beh bud" ("prosperity") motto is proclaimed on the reverse of these coins. He became famous for the artistic excellence of his surviving buildings, and as a patron of the arts, who encouraged the intellectual and artistic life of Harat, and wrote his own poetry in both Persian and Turkish. Despite the words "Allah ta'aala" ("God the most high") on the obverse of this coin, Husayn Bayqara was not a religious zealot. He issued Sunni coins in Sunni areas and Shi'a coins in Twelver Shi'a areas, and offended the pious with his neglect of the prescribed prayers, refusal to fast and enjoyment of wine. By AH 906 (1501) the style of rule made the fall of the Timurids inevitable. The Uzbek Sunni ruler Muhammad Shaybani conquered Samarkand, while the Shi'ite Shah Isma'il I laid the foundations of the great Safawid empire. One year after his death, the Shaybanis entered Herat and Husayn Bayqara's sons fled the city.