This item has been added to the Database within the Explore Islamic Art Collections project. Information is available in: English, German.
Hegira 3rd century / AD 9th century
Abbasid, caliph al-Mutawakkil (AH 232–247 / AD 847–861)
This unique silver presentation coin of the Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil (AH 232–247 / AD 847–861) is of seminal importance. The only extant example in the world, it is now in the Coin Collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Following Sassanian coin typology, the obverse features an en face portrait of the caliph, the reverse a standing man holding a dromedary. The inscription reads: "In the name of God, Muhammad is his messenger, al-Mutawakkil bi-Allah", and on the reverse: "In the year [AH] 241 [AD 855/6] al-Mu`tazz bi-Allah."
Such commemoration coins were distributed among the populace on special occasisons. We know that al-Mutawakkil had five million silver coins minted to distribute like rose petals among the assembled guests. This coin may also have been devised as a commemorative coin as its reverse commemorated the submission of the camel-riding Biğāh from the Sudan.
"Presentation coin" in Explore Islamic Art Collections. Museum With No Frontiers, 2017. http://www.discoverislamicart.org/database_item.php?id=object;EPM;at;Mus22;41;en
MWNF Working Number: AT2 41