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CNG Islamic Auction 1

Lot nuber 208

Mongols. Great Khans. temp. Ögedei. AH 624-639 / AD 1227-1241. AR Multiple Dirham (28.5mm, 16.12g). Balad Al-Kurraman mint.

CNG Islamic Auction 1
Lot: 208.
 Estimated: $ 15 000

Mongols, Silver

Sold For $ 9 000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

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Mongols. Great Khans. temp. Ögedei. AH 624-639 / AD 1227-1241. AR Multiple Dirham (28.5mm, 16.12g). Balad Al-Kurraman mint. Obverse: Fi al-balad al-Kurraman (’In the city of Kurraman’) in two lines, double linear border containing pellets around. Reverse: har ki na sta- / nad gunahgar na / shad (‘Whosoever does not accept it will not be a sinner’) in three lines, double linear border containing pellets around. Zeno #285665 (this piece); cf. CNG Triton auction XXIV, 19 January 2021, lot 1231. Edge split. VF. Of the highest rarity, believed unique.

The town of Kurraman was situated in the Kurram Valley, through which the Kurram river flows on its way to joining the Indus.  It appears to have been active as a mint during the first part of the 7/13th centuries, initially under the Khwarezmshahs and subsequently under the Great Mongols. As well as modest jitals, Kurraman produced several magnificent silver multiple dirham coins, including the unpublished specimen offered here.

Kurraman itself was, nominally at least, under the rule of the Mongol Great Khans at the time these coins were issued.  Remarkably for such an impressive object, however, the present coin bears the name of no political or religious authority, and is entirely anonymous.  The obverse simply states ‘In the city of Al-Kurraman,’ and the reverse bears the remarkable admonition that ‘Whosoever does not accept it will not be a sinner.’  It has been suggested that this double-negative may have been a deliberate attempt to cancel the threatening legends found on other gold and silver coins from Kurraman, which state that anyone refusing to accept them is a sinner, but it seems equally possible that the short word na has simply been repeated in error.

Whoever issued this coin seems to have decided that a simple proclamation that the citizens of Kurraman had to accept it - or else - would be more effective than an appeal to the authority of a far-distant secular ruler.  Given that the coin itself is of good silver, we can only speculate as to why such compulsion may have been thought necessary.  Interestingly, however, we see a different approach used for the splendid silver 10-dirham coins struck at Kurraman in AH 641, which dutifully acknowledge the ‘Abbasid caliph al-Musta‘sim, living thousands of miles away in Baghdad and completely devoid of any secular influence in the Kurram Valley whatsoever.  Perhaps the tradition of coins being issued on the authority of someone was so deeply rooted that even the threatening legend on this coin could not overcome it.

The final winners of all CNG Islamic Auction 1 lots will be determined at the live online sale that will be held on 25 May 2022, beginning at 10:00 AM ET.

Winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 22.50% for all others.

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