Safawid Shahs of Iran

Silver Shahi


In cartouches at 12:00 la ilah illa Allah, at 9:00 Muhammad rasul Allah, at 6:00 ‘Ali wali Allah, at 3:00 wa‘l-Husayn wa‘l-Hasan “no deity other than God, Muhammad is the messenger of God, ‘Ali is the chosen one of God, and al-Husayn and al-Hasan

In outer segments (largely off flan): the names of the twelve Shi’a Imams Muhammad, ‘Ali, Hasan, Husayn, ‘Ali, Muhammad, Ja’far, Musa, ‘Ali, Muhammad, ‘Ali, Hasan


Within linear circle and outer circle of pellets: al-sultan al-‘adil al-Kamil al-Hadi al-wali abu’l-Muzaffar Shah Isma’il Bahadur Khan al-Safawi Tihran khallada Allah sultanahu wa mulkahu “the just Sultan and name and titles of Shah Isma’il with mint Tihran, and benedictory formula “long may God perpetuate his sultanate and sovereignty”

This large sized silver coinage was introduced by Shah Isma’il shortly after his accession. It was often decorated with elaborate designs, manipulating the religious legends and the names of the Twelve Shi’a Imams. It is a pity that this extremely rare coin lacks a date, because it is almost certainly the earliest coinage from the mint of Tehran, being almost half a century earlier than any other. The name of today’s capital of Iran changed several times. First it was known as al-Rayy, then al-Muhammadiya, then once again Rayy, then Waramin and finally Tihran. The obverse of this coin contains a full statement of the Safawid Twelver Shi’a beliefs, which were imposed on Iran by Shah Isma’il. The reverse contains Isma’il’s name and titles as well as the mint name Tihran. It is possible that the date may be hidden among the many calligraphic ornaments.

Safawid Shahs of Iran

RulerShah Isma’il bin Haydar bin Junayd
MintTihran (Tehran)
DateNo date visible