‘Uthmanid or Ottoman State

Gold Sultani

Obverse

darib al-nadr/sahib al-‘izz wa’l-nasr/ fi’l-barr wa’l-bahr “the striker of precious metal, the master of glory and the victorious on land and sea”

Reverse

Sultan Sulayman shah/bin Sultan Salim Shah/‘azza nasrahu duriba fi/Zabid sana 947 “Sultan Sulayman Shah son of Sultan Salim Shah, may his victory be glorious, struck in Zabid year 947”

This highly artistic gold coin is a testimony to the first Ottoman occupation of the Yemen, which was a bi-product of their Red Sea trade with India and the Persian Gulf. Ottoman interest in the region began after Salim I conquered Egypt in 922 H/1516 CE. Mamluk Egypt had close contacts with the Yemen, and the new Ottoman administration that replaced the Mamluks took over this interest. They were encouraged when they were informed that the province of the Yemen was flourishing, had abundant revenues and that Zabid alone yielded 180,000 gold ashrafis a year. In 930 H/1523 CE the Ottomans seized Zabid, and shortly thereafter they began to strike silver medinis, the coinage of Mamluk Egypt. Later, by the time this coin was issued, the common silver was the Ottoman aqcha, which the Ottoman troops were accustomed to receiving as their pay. Gold coinage, such as this, is rarely encountered, largely because trade was conducted in Ottoman gold from Egypt and, like the Egyptian coinage of this time, was dated by the actual year of striking rather than by Sulayman’s fixed accession year, 926 H.

‘Uthmanid or Ottoman State

MaterialGold
TypeSultani
RulerSulayman I bin Salim (Kanuni – The Lawgiver, also known as The Magnificent)
MintZabid (in the coastal Tihama region of the Yemen)
Date947 H (1540-1541) CE)
Weight3.48g
Diameter19mm