Arab Sasanian

Silver Drachm

Obverse

In field within serrate circle: bearded bust of Sasanian king facing to right, with hair bunched at back, wearing a diademed headdress studded with two rows of pearls, surmounted by a crest consisting of two spreading wings, one on either side of a central star and crescent; to right of crown a small star. The dress is adorned with rows of pearls. Legends in Pahlawi, downwards on right YZDKRT, downwards on left AFZUT/GDH “May his kingship increase”

In margin: stars and crescents at 3:00, 6:00, 9:00 and 12:00; between 3:00 and 6:00 bism Allah (blundered)

Reverse

In field within triple serrate circle: Sasanian fire altar raised on three steps with an attendant priest, or mobedh on either side; to right mint abbreviation SK; to left (in Pahlawi) VIST (fixed date 20)

In margin: stars and crescents at 3:00, 6:00, 9:00 and 12:00

When the Arabs finally defeated the last ruler of the Sasanian Empire they were faced with the problem of how to pay their troops. Since the Sasanians had an abundant coinage of silver drachms, which were accepted everywhere in the east, they took the pragmatic step of adopting this coinage and chose to date it with twenty, the last year of Yazdgird’s reign. Numismatic scholars have generally recognised this as the earliest definitive Islamic coin. It is thus a fitting beginning to this presentation.

Arab Sasanian

MaterialSilver
TypeDrachm
RulerYazdgard III
MintSistan/Sijistan
Date30H / 650-651CE
Weight2.89g
Diameter30mm