Safawid Shahs of Iran

Silver Shahi


In field within linear circle the Shi’a kalima: la ilah illah Allah/Muhammad/rasul Allah/‘Ali wali Allah “no deity other than God, Muhammad is the messenger of God, ‘Ali is the chosen one of God”

Around: the names of the twelve Shi’a Imams Muhammad, ‘Ali, Hasan, Husayn, ‘Ali, Muhammad, Ja’far, Musa, ‘Ali, Muhammad, ‘Ali, Hasan


The couplet in Farsi: behr tahsil riza‘i muqtdai ins wa jan/sikke-yi khayrat behr zad Sulayman jihan/darb Isfahan 1082 “for the sake of winning the approbation of him who men and genii take as a model (i.e. ‘Ali)/ the Solomon of the age struck coins as a pious deed”, struck Isfahan 1082”

The beginning of Shah Safi II‘s reign was so inauspicious that the chief court astrologer announced that the date of his accession had been miscalculated and a new horoscope was drawn up which made it clear that a second coronation would have to take place at nine o’clock in the morning on 10 Dhu’l-Qada 1078 H/20 March 1668 CE. This was observed with all due ceremony to make sure of a fresh start, and Safi changed his name to Shah Sulayman I. However, this brought no improvement in the Safawids’ fortunes, because Sulayman conspicuously lacked the energy, courage and discipline needed to rule his lands effectively. He left the work of government to his grand viziers and preferred the life of the harem, in which he had grown up, to that of the court, not least because he had eight hundred ladies to choose from. For all his faults, Sulayman appreciated art, especially painting and the miniatures for which Iran is famous. This superb example of his largest silver presentation coinage would not have been intended for circulation, but rather as a keepsake for one of his favourites. In the distich on the reverse Sulayman reveals the benefits brought to him through his humility, which was hardly appropriate given his way of life. These distichs, or saj, were a feature of Persian coinage inscriptions, both in Iran and Mughal India, during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Safawid Shahs of Iran

RulerSulayman I or Safi II bin ‘Abbas II
MintIsfahan, the Safawid capital
Date1082 H (1671-1672 CE)