Classics and Archaeology Virtual Museum

Middle Eastern Coins

The 1971 Catalogue (p. 103) noted: "The Department of Middle Eastern Studies has a small collection of Persian and Turkish coins which includes Sassanian silver coins of Khronroe I and II and Khobad, a gold half dinar of the Seljuk Sultan Sanjar possibly A.H 527 and silver coins of the Safavids, Afsharids and the Shajans". Twelve Greek and Roman coins of the Middle Eastern Collection were described by Peter Connor in the section on coins of this 1971 Catalogue (pp. 117-135). The same twelve coins were again described in the 1974 exhibition catalogue "The Classical Coin" by Peter Connor and Ron Ridley.

Note that in the coins database the code MES has now been abbreviated to M.

In a small Croxley box (Small Box 1) in Peter Connor's room were MES coins numbered 1-69 except that 12 and 23-42 were missing. MES 21-42 are identical coins, 21 and 22 were in a single envelope and the other 20 were missing. 2 coins of Ptolemy X with apple branch symbol left have now been allocated the numbers MES 21 and MES 22. The rest were later discovered in the Gallery by Heather Gaunt, and re-united with the rest of the collection on 29/9/98. MES 43-68 (all identical) were in a single marked envelope with no identifier for each separate coin; each has now been arbitrarily allocated one of these MES numbers.

In the same box were 4 unnumbered coins in envelopes. For cataloguing purposes, they were arbitrarily given the MES numbers indicated:

MES 70 1 with "? AE" on envelope.
MES 71 & 72 2 Parthian octopus?
MES 73 1 "Antochus"

The following five coins were in an old Philip Morris cigarette packet inside an envelope with the legend indicated written on it (the diameter measurements are rough):

MES 74 27 mm "retrieved by G Gellie from N Africa"
MES 75 18 mm "retrieved by G Gellie from N Africa"
MES 76 17 mm "retrieved by G Gellie from N Africa"
MES 77 15 mm "retrieved by G Gellie from N Africa"
MES 78 13 mm "retrieved by G Gellie from N Africa"

In addition, the box contained two empty marked envelopes:

Envelope empty marked "5 Metapontum 550-480 stater"
Envelope empty marked "7 Sybaris AR latter half C to BC".

In another small box with a folding lid (Small Box 2, now in a larger box in separate envelopes) were another 59 coins with mostly Arabic script, 26 loose in the box (there are also 13 loose notes) and 33 wrapped in some sort of paper or envelope with writing on it. These coins have never been catalogued. They have been have allocated MES numbers 79 -137 and put in separate plastic bags and envelopes with these numbers, commencing with those that had a note of some sort wrapped around them.

Coins with notes:

MES 79-84 Envelope marked Dr Thompson had six coins originally sticky-taped to a small index card; only two remain stuck (4 & 6 below). A note inside: "37. Elymaide 100BC- 100 AD 6 pieces @ Rls 40 Rls 240/-". On the card the following, arranged as indicated:

1. Maccabean

3. Herod Archelaus

5. Valerius Gratus

2. Alex. Tannaeus

4 AD 6 or 9-11

6. A. Felix

No 4 is now MES 82; No 6 is now MES 84. The rest are in a single plastic bag with the indiscriminate numbers MES 79, 80, 81, 83.

MES 85

Note "8. 1099 AH Yerevan Abbas II Safavide", one coin inside.

MES 86, 87

Note "11. 1174 AH Karim Khan Shiraz Rls 50/-", 2 coins inside.

MES 88

Note "13. Shah Suleiman 1st 1685 AD (1096). Rls 120", one coin inside.

MES 89, 90

Note "14. 1134 AH Isfahan Shah Sultan Hassein Safavide 100/-", two silver coins inside.

MES 91

Note "15. Esterabad (Sheibani) Hussein. 60", one coin inside.

MES 92

Note "22. Ahmad Shah Shajai. 1340 AH.", 1 coin inside.

MES 93

Note "24. Nadir Shah afsharide. 100/-", 1 coin inside.

MES 94

Note "25. 1124 AH Nadir Shah Isfahan afshar. Rls 150", one coin.

MES 95

Note "26. 1130 AH. Tabriz Shah Sultan Hassain Safavide 120/-", one coin inside.

MES 96

Note "27. 200 Mad Zaranj. 60/-", one coin inside.

MES 97

Note "28. Afsharieh Adelshah 1747-1748" and one Arabic coin.

MES 98

Note "30. Shad Sultan Hussein. 10 Rials", one fat oblong coin inside.

MES 99

Note "32. 1149 AH Isfahan Nadir Shah afsharide Rls 150", one coin inside.

MES 100

Note "36. 1145 AD.", one coin inside.

MES 101, 102

Note blank, 2 coins wrapped in note.

Six self-sealing envelopes in a plastic wrapping, marked as indicated:

MES 103

"NR 1 al -Mahdi, A.H. 152 mint al-Muhammadiyah". Inside, note "1. Abbasids. Mahdi 775-785 AD", one coin inside.

MES 104

"NR. 2. Ruler: al Mahdi A.H. 163. Mint Madinat al Salom". Inside, note "2. Abbassids. Rls 40. In the name of Mahdi - the last year of his father's or the first year of his caliphate 775 A.D.", one coin inside.

MES 105

"NR 3. Ruler - not listed (al Mansur) AH 149. Mint: Madinat al-Salam". Inside, note "3. 149 madinat al Salam. 40/-", one coin inside.

MES 106

"NR. 4. Ruler: al Mahdi A.H. 164. Mint Madinat al Salom". Inside, note "4", one coin inside.

MES 107

"NR 5. Ruler: al Muqtadir bi-hlah on revers name + some arabic. Mint Surra man Ra (i.e. Samarra)". Inside, note "5. 6. 313 al Maqhtadir Samarra. 60/-", one coin inside.

MES 108, 109, 110

"Sassanid". Inside, two notes: "17. II Khosroe Parviz. 3 Rls 100/-", 3 coins inside (110 with three small pieces broken off); and

MES 111

"5. 33. Khosroe II Sassanide. Two pieces 100/-.", one coin inside.

The information on the notes and envelopes associated with MES 70-111 has been entered into the ‘Commentary’ field in the database. The 26 loose coins have been placed individually in small plastic bags numbered MES 112-137, inside an envelope.

Loose notes found with the 26 loose coins:

Note with no coin: "7. Mashad Shah Sultan Hussein Safavide 80/-".

Note with no coin: "10. Zandieh 1274. Karim Khan 1750-1779 A.D."

Note with no coin: "12. 1056 AH Abbas II Safavide Tabriz . 120/-."

Note with no coin: "19. 1068 AH Tabriz Abbas II Safaride 120/-".

Note with no coin: "20. Indian mohd. shah 150/-".

Note with no coin: "21. 1117 AH Safavid AE . Rls 120/-."

Note with no coin: "27 [?]. 1059 AH Tabriz Abbas II Safavide. 150."

Note with no coin: "? Rls 40".

Note with no coin: "Ghajaro.Fatali Shah 1797-1834 A.D."

Recycled typed fragment marked "31. 2 Fath Ali Rls. 50/- each", no coin inside.

Small envelope marked "10 + 11, Karim Khan Zaeed", no coin inside.

Small envelope marked "16. Safavis. 2 pieces 50 Rls", no coin inside.

Numbers in the range 1-36 that are not used on the notes are 9, 17, 23, 29, 33, 34, 35. It would be nice to think that some of the unwrapped coins could be matched to the coinless notes.

In the same box is a seal wrapped in a note "18. Seal Design Madonna & Child Rls 1500/-", small translucent seal inside. It seems likely that the box contains what is described in the 1971 Catalogue as "a small collection of Persian and Turkish coins ... The Department also has one oblong milkstone seal with Virgin and child and one gold Chonfe (possibly nose ring)." The Chonfe, however, has not been found.

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