Electronic resources for the study of Islamic numismatics            

Submitted by Selim S. Kuru on
Gold dinar of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan minted at Damascus, Syria in AH 79 (697–698 CE) having a weight of 4.25 grams

by Jere Bacharach

NELC is thankful to Prof. Bacharach for sharing this list of extensive resources on our web-site. Prof. Bacharach will be presenting a talk titled "Medieval Cairo: Its History and Finds" on October 2, 2019 at the University of Washington [7-8:30 PM, Thomson 101]. This talk is organized by ARCE and proudly supported by NELC.

This is a list of available resources for Islamic numismatics for your purposes as scholars, students, curators, collectors or just one interested in Islamic numismatics.  For those lists where I was one of the authors, I made the final decision as to what would be included and how the data would be organized.  I recognize that there are both omissions and errors.  Additions, corrections, and comments can be sent to me at alikhshid@gmail.com.  It is my hope that during 2020 I can share an updated version of some of the tables based upon your input.

Here is a list of the new references with links to the relevant Excel sheets.

  1. Dissertations in Arabic on Islamic numismatics to 2019 by Dr. Sherif Anwar = https://www.academia.edu/40442068/Islamic_coin_dissertations_for_web_2019.09
  2. Books to 2019 in Arabic on Islamic numismatics by Dr. Sherif Anwar and Dr. Jere L Bacharach = https://www.academia.edu/40449907/Coin_books_in_Arabic_for_web_2019.09
  3. Articles in Arabic on Islamic numismatics to 2019 by Dr. Jere L. Bacharach, Dr. Sherif Anwar and Ms. Howayda Ali Ahmed = https://www.academia.edu/40449833/Articles_in_Arabic_on_Islamic_numismatics_to_2019_by_Dr._Jere_L._Bacharach_Dr._Sherif_Anwar_and_Ms._Howayda_Ahmed_Ali
  4. academia.edu/Bacharach/ A list of PDFs of articles to 2019 in Arabic on Islamic numismatics = https://www.academia.edu/40449933/PDF_list_for_web_2019.09
  5. Gayer-Anderson, Cairo selected glass weights data = https://www.academia.edu/40449968/Gayer_-_Anderson_all_data_uncorrected_by_number_2019.06
  6. Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Kuwait working list = https://www.academia.edu/s/a9a41b9f83/kuwait-data-for-web-201909
  7. Islamic coins in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford https://hcr.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/collection/6

New and on-going resources for searches in Arabic (or Arabic and English)

1 - Dissertations in Arabic on Islamic numismatics to 2019 by Dr. Sherif Anwar

Dr. Sherif was able to find references to 111 M.A. & Ph.D. dissertations to 2019 in Arabic.  They are listed by author with the title of the dissertation, the name of the institution, the appropriate college, and the date the degree was awarded.  If you can fill in any of the missing information or correct errors, please send a note to alikhshid@gmail.com.  A copy of the updated Excel file can be found at https://www.academia.edu/40442068/Islamic_coin_dissertations_for_web_2019.09

2 - Books in Arabic on Islamic numismatics to 2019 by Dr. Sherif Anwar and Dr. Jere L. Bacharach

We have included 213 titles in our list which is a significant increase over the number in our earlier published article.   The data are listed by author, title, place of publication, publisher, and date of publication.  Some entries contain omissions and possible errors.  If you can fill in any of the missing information or correct errors, please send a note to alikhshid@gmail.com with all the new data. .A copy of the Excel file can be found at https://www.academia.edu/40449907/Coin_books_in_Arabic_for_web_2019.09

3 - Articles in Arabic on Islamic numismatics to 2019 by Dr. Jere L. Bacharach, Dr. Sherif Anwar and Ms. Howayda Ahmed Ali

We have included 543 references recognizing that others may have been missed. Some entries contain omissions and possible errors.  We often relied on bibliographies at the end of books and found that critical information was lacking such as the name of the university for a journal, page numbers, etc.  If you can fill in any of the missing information or correct errors, please send a note to alikhshid@gmail.com.  A few articles on non-Islamic coinage have been included since finding references to them and, in some cases, acquiring PDFs of them, can be difficult.  The Excel sheet can be found at https://www.academia.edu/40449833/Articles_in_Arabic_on_Islamic_numismatics_to_2019_by_Dr._Jere_L._Bacharach_Dr._Sherif_Anwar_and_Ms._Howayda_Ahmed_Ali

4 – A list of PDFs of articles in Arabic on Islamic numismatics to 2019

So far over 387 PDFs have been collected of the articles listed under item 3.  If you have copies of items I missed, please send them to me at alikhshid@gmail.com and I will add them to my 2020 updated list.  If you wish a list of only the articles for which we currently have a PDF the Excel file can be found at https://www.academia.edu/40449933/PDF_list_for_web_2019.09

To obtain a copy of a particular PDF you may email in English library@numismatics.org for up to 5 articles at a time requesting no more than one article from the same book or single volume of a journal following “fair usage” procedures.  List the requested PDF by the arbitrary number attached to each article.

Dr. Michael L. Bates, American Numismatic Society Curator Emeritus of Islamic coins created a major resource for the study of Islamic Numismatics. As he shared with me, “The site contains over 4,400 PDFs.  One can search and retrieve any of these files. In general, the files are stored in folders for each author. Periodical volumes and links to on-line periodicals are in the Periodicals folder.”


5- Islamic glass weights in the Gayer-Anderson Museum, Cairo without images

Dr. Jere L. Bacharach, Dr. Rafaat al-Nabarawy, Mr. (now Dr.) Sherif Anwar, and Mr. (now Dr.) Ahmed Mohammed Yousef

The Gayer-Anderson Museum houses approximately 1,100 Umayyad, early Abbasid, Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk glass weights (jetons).  Dr. Usamah Ahmad Mukhtar Hassan Mustafa, who graduated from Sohag University, did his Ph.D. dissertation identifying all the pieces in the collection.  When the four of us studied the collection in 2005 we found his registration numbers missing and the weights housed in three undifferentiated lots negating the value of Dr. Usamah’s work.

Working under time pressures and using a hand-held camera, we did our best to identify the glass weights and to create separate files for each glass weight with the appropriate data in Arabic and English.  A CD copy of our data and images was given to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities as well as put on the website of the American Numismatic Society (ANS) [http://www.numismatics.org/dpubs/islamic/ga/] where searches could be run but only one item at a time accompanied by poor quality images.

Returning years later to re-examine our study more closely I discovered missing data and possible errors in our original readings, particularly of Fatimid issues.  I, therefore, had the ANS link deleted. A table which includes the old uncorrected data based upon the work of the four of us but without the images or inscriptions in Arabic can be found at https://www.academia.edu/40449968/Gayer_-_Anderson_all_data_uncorrected_by_number_2019.06

6 – The al-Sabah Collection housed at the Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Kuwait: Forthcoming:

Dar al Athar al Islamiyyah (DAI) is a cultural organization based around the private art collection owned by Sheikh Nasser Sabah Ahmed al Sabah, founder of The al Sabah Collection and his wife, DAI director general and co-founder Sheikha Hussa Sabah al Salem al Sabah. Since its inception in 1983, DAI has grown from a single focus organization created to manage the loan of the prestigious al Sabah Collection of art from the Islamic world to the State of Kuwait to become an internationally recognized cultural organization.

Sheikh Nasser and Sheikha Hussa have been extremely generous in making their amazing collection available to scholars, students and the public throughout the world.  They have sponsored exhibitions based entirely on their own collection and, in many cases, lent pieces for inclusion in thematic exhibitions organized by others.  The publication record of pieces from their collection whether as single volumes or as part of more general catalogues is outstanding.  Many of their pieces can now be found at the website http://darmuseum.org.kw/about/ under “The Collections.” 

One major exception is their impressive collection of numismatic material, which numbered almost 9,000 specimens at the end of the 1990s.  Sheikh Nasser and Sheikha Hussa had the good sense, in my opinion, not to try to publish in book form catalogues of all their coins with each piece described in detail and illustrated.  Fortunately it is the goal of Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah to publish in an electronic form their numismatic holdings which now number over 12,000 items.  Once this is available I will circulate the link. 

In the meantime, I am sharing a working list of almost 9,000 items under the categories of issuing authority (usually a dynasty), ruler, mint and date in both Arabic and English.  This list is based upon the working list in English created by Robert & Elisabeth Darley-Doran in the late 1990s.  Additional data and the Arabic were added by Jere L. Bacharach and Howayda Ahmed Ali.  The data can be found at https://www.academia.edu/s/a9a41b9f83/kuwait-data-for-web-201909

7 – Islamic coins in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Dr. Trent Jonson is completing an electronic catalog of all the Islamic coins held in the Heberden Coin Room, the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, which were in the published and unpublished 10 volumes of the Sylloge of Islamic Coins in the Ashmolean.  The web site does not include the pieces which were on loan from the late Mr. Samir Shamma.  Ms. Federica Gigante has put the Ottoman holdings on the site.  After work on a coin is completed it is added to the electronic database.  Each coin is described in detail with the inscription in Arabic script, appropriate comments and a high resolution image.  Multiple search categories are also available.


Existing resources:

8 – Islamic numismatic material in the Egyptian National Library: An electronic catalog by Dr. Jere L. Bacharach and Dr. Sherif Anwar

This electronic catalog of 6,500 numismatic pieces – coins, glass weights, dies, medals, etc. - is the third major catalog of Islamic numismatic material held in the Egyptian National Library, formerly the Khedivial Library, Egypt’s most important library.  The second printed catalog of the collection was published in 1982 by Norman D. Nicol, Raafat al-Nabarawy and Jere L. Bacharach.  Long out of print, the 1982 catalogue was created by Dr. Nicol who prepared it on a typewriter and pasted in the relatively few inscriptions in Arabic which he also typed. 

The electronic catalog differs from its predecessors in a number of ways. First, it is a new catalog in that we had to read the inscriptions from the digital images which were taken under difficult and rushed conditions and not from the actual objects. Second, we included inscriptions in Arabic as Dr. Sherif Anwar read them, which was never possible in the previous studies because of costs. Inscriptions in European languages and references are the work of Dr. Nicol from the 1982 catalog of the collection.

Third, images of every piece are part of this electronic catalog, which was financially impossible when the earlier catalogues were published. Fourth, the images are in color which modern technology permits at no additional cost. On the other hand the Egyptian National Library required that all images used on this webpage carry watermarks. Images without watermarks of specific items can be acquired by contacting the Egyptian National Library citing the 1982 catalog number, which is the last number in the title listing for each item.

Fifth, whenever a mint was inscribed and could be located, an accompanying map is included on the webpage. Finally, as far as possible, all the data and search tools are available in both Arabic and English.  Electronic searches in Arabic and English can by undertaken by going to the category “browse” and then using the various lists to narrow the search. In order to find a specific piece based upon its 1982 catalog number go to the heading “search” and under “keyword” go to “recordId” and type in the appropriate number.

This project is a result of the cooperation of the Egyptian National Library and Archives and the American Numismatic Society with funding from USAID through the American Research Center in Egypt. This electronic catalog is made available under the Open Database License. It is powered by Numishare and numismatic concepts defined on Nomisma.org.  The data are located at enl.numimatics.org.

9 - Ottoman coins in the Kirkraleri Museum, Kirkraleri, Turkey

This is an M.A. thesis which was done in Turkey on this museum collection of 1086 Ottoman coins by Mr. Emir Tuzkaya.  The work is available as a PDF along with an abstract at http://dspace.trakya.edu.tr/xmlui/handle/1/2033?show=full#sthash.uaXudGFd.dpbs

10 – Islamic coins in the American Numismatic Society

The American Numismatic Society holds over 70,000 Islamic numismatic items (with about 11% illustrated) which can be searched in English in various categories. http://numismatics.org/search/department/Islamic.

11 - Zeno.ru has over 71,000 Islamic coins illustrated and comments on almost 100,000 coins organized by dynasty. http://numismatics.org/search/department/Islamic.

12 - Steven Album Rare Coins has an amazing range of items for sale identified and illustrated in their sales catalogues.  http://db.stevealbum.com/php/search2a.php?site=0&lang=1

13 – Jere L. Bacharach. Islamic History through Coins: An Analysis and Catalogue of Tenth-Century Ikhshidid Coinage (Cairo, American University in Cairo Press, 2016 - 2nd revised and updated version)

The second, updated version of my book is only available as an e-book but the AUC Press has made it available free to anyone who wishes a copy.  http://aucpress.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/9781617975202.pdf

Again, I apologize for the length of this email but I hope it is helpful and I hope that others who are undertaking web-based work on Islamic numismatics will make their contributions available to the widest possible audience.  This project has consumed a great deal of my time over the last few years and I am extremely grateful for the input of Dr. Sherif  Anwar, Dr. Donald M. Reid and Ms. Howayda Ahmed Ali as well as the support of librarians at the American University in Cairo, the University of Washington, and the American Numismatic Society.  For those others who have helped me over these last years with all these projects, I express my deep appreciation and thanks