Category Archives: Sultanate Coins

Please try to understand a little history: Understanding what is on the coins.

Hi,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMfXgNYK-f8
Please view the video attached. It starts a discussion on what is really to be seen on Indian coins. Especially those described in numismatic literature as ‘Islamic Coins”. It is time to examine the coins much more closely than has been generally done. Let us venture into the world of symbolism and display. It was for those who needed to understand what the ruler was telling on his coins. The understanding was not there for all to see, but it was certainly there for those in the major power base to see and to take note of.

Just a short note on another matter.

There have been a number of questions raised about some highly specific advice given on this blog on coins storage and the treatment of bronze disease. In many matters the mass availability of social media has led to many opinions on many matters being made available. On this blog we utilised the opinions on coin storage and bronze disease treatment from the genuine world experts and these have been peer reviewed. Although as a group we probably have the necessary personal experience to comment in these areas (and in future some other highly specific areas) it will always be our policy to seek out information from the best in the world. Feel free to comment on these articles if you wish but please remember the calibre of the writers. They are WORLD EXPERTS not experts in their own world.

GRADING OF HAND STRUCK COINS PART 3: THE IMPORTANCE OF EPIGRAPHY

LAHORE DE

Epigraphy: The study of inscriptions (without being overly technical).

Shown above is a page from our first book. It shows the overlay colour coding used in all of our works. The same colour is used to demonstrate the words across all the series. The coin issuer’s name with be in red, the mint in green, the mint epithet, if present, in blue etc.

On this superb coin we have practically all of the relevant information available on the coin. The ruler’s name is clear, the mint and epithet can be deduced without problem and importantly the dates are seen clearly. So we have all the  information of historical importance.

But what if, like many hand struck coins, one of these important pieces of information was missing or unclear?  What if a Regnal Year was missing or the actual date of issue or even the mint name? We then have a coin that is incomplete. So can this coin be actually graded? If it can be what are we really grading?

These are the primary questions placed before you. Because surely also if the information is incomplete on a coin then no matter what the perceived grade is an incomplete coin must be worth less than a complete coin no matter what the grade is of the complete coin!

A New Jahandar Shah Mint, Translations and Other Work

There are fewer greater joys in research to discover that someone has found a new mint for a ruler we are working on, or perhaps I should say practically finished until this was publicised a few days ago.  So an exceptional collector showed the mint of Junagarh for Jahandar Shah. A few new pages need to be added and other work reviewed to see the context. Brilliant work by the finder.

It also shows that even in a great series like the Mughals new finds are available to the conscientious researcher and collector. The value of this coin is probably much less than it should be but perhaps one day justice will prevail.

In reviewing the comments of our first offering in this long series we looked the many positives and the few negatives. We have added a few new sections to aid collectors and researchers thanks to progressive people. However we also needed to look at our translating of the legends (including the couplets) because of comments made from one source. For those who wish to write one or two books this is an easy task, a quick review and perhaps a change. However when the series proposed is many, many books covering many centuries there is a necessity that a trend in translating once started can stand the test of time and be utilised for the whole project noting, of course, that various changes in emphasis may take place over time. In the fullness of time my co-author, Mohammed Tariq, will write a much fuller report on this.

What can be said that this long review and reworking of many different phrases and word use combinations has strengthened our resolve to pursue the course that we set in our first book. If anything our resolve has strengthened so much that tougher stances have been taken on some highly specific translations. The first of this will be seen in our Jahandar work.

Our wonderful publisher, Manohar Publishers of Delhi, has recently reinforced their commitment to publishing an expanded range of our work. In my case I now to live until at least 110 but who knows what might happen.

Our group takes each comment about our work seriously and adjustments if necessary will be made should they be necessary.

 

 

The Grading of Ancient and Medieval Coins: It’s Just NOT Good Enough

Again we touch on this subject because the grading world has forgotten one major point. Many coins are struck on flans that are smaller than the dies. This means that parts of the coin legend often do not appear on the coin itself. What is more important for serious collectors is that full attribution cannot be made on many of these coins.

With grading the important thing is the condition of the strike of the coin. So the better the strike (hand struck or not) the higher the magic grading number is (at least in as non technical sense as I can put it). Coins with (in the case of Indian coins for example) with shroff or chop marks will not receive a magic number. That is the way these things are done. So you can have a coin with all the necessary attribution detail available but because of use marks it can’t be graded but you can have a coin that cannot be fully attributed but can be graded.

Clearly this system makes a nonsense of serious collecting. As a good friend and co-researcher said to me recently “Are these people collecting coins or some type of fantasy tokens?”

So we either have the following and it does not matter how “pretty” the coin is we are talking about:

  1. A continuation of the current system where anything that looks pretty gets a number whether it can be correctly attributed or not.
  2. Coins that cannot be fully attributed are graded by the old alpha system (XF, AUNC etc) and not by the number system.
  3. Coins of the type where the flan is smaller than a complete die have a new system allocated to them so that serious collectors can understand exactly what they are getting.

In reality we have one choice and that is point 3. However the situation is further hampered by the modern marketing arrangement of coins termed Nazrana (alt sp. Nazarana). These Mughal coins so described are “complete” in every detail however the name is somewhat misleading in truth and very, very few coins are in fact “complete”. Some coins will show, for example, traces of a dotted border but as the strike even in these rather beautiful coins is centred correctly on extremely rare occasions. So the term Nazrana needs to be discontinued and another term used.

Broad details of the proposed system, to be greatly expanded on in our next E-magazine edition are as follows.

Coins where the complete die is larger than the coin flan will have a new grading system and the system will consist on the following types and within each type the current grading system will continue.

Type 1: Incomplete obverse and reverse. A part of the necessary attribution details is missing from both sides.

Type 2: Incomplete details on the obverse, complete details on the reverse.

Type 3: Complete details on the obverse but incomplete details on the reverse.

Type 4: Complete text details discernible on the obverse and reverse. Here parts of the inscription may be missing but the coin can be completely and absolutely attributed. Parts of a border if present may be visible but this is not necessary for attribution.

Type 5: Exemplary strike. All parts of the inscription are complete and the border, if a part of the die, is complete. This is technically the old Nazrana type but that type suffered from lack of clear definition

So this system then qualifies what REALLY happens with coin strikes where the flan is smaller than the die. The truth is that astute and careful collectors wish to collect coins that are complete as possible rather than just something that looks “pretty”. The truth is that such collectors should be rewarded with increased value for coins that are more complete and frankly a Type 4 coin with a chop mark or Shroff mark, part of real trade and coin use, should be worth more than a Type 2 or 3.

We are talking about reality in collecting. However the points are slightly more complicated when there are couplets on various coins. For example with Jahandar Shah there is a variation to each of the two main couplets. Being able to collect coins where the an absolute decision can be made on which couplet variety it is for some mints will be a great but rewarding challenge. It is currently a great challenge for us in preparation of the book.

This theme will be greatly expanded on in the next E-magazine as advised. This will include various illustrations from our books and manuscripts.

It is time for serious collectors to demand serious and correct grading for these coins.