An extraordinary donative gold piece of 10 Mithqal
The Ghurids of Afghanistan and India. Muizz al-din Muhammad b. Sam, AH 567-602 (1171-1206 CE) in the name of his brother and overlord Ghiyath al-bin Muhammad I b. Sam, AH 558-599 (1163-1203 CE) and their overlord, the Abbasid Caliph al-Nasir li-din Allah AH 575-622 (1180-1225 CE). AV ten Mithqals AH 597, no mint (Ghazna). 44,54g. Album -; Fr. - (cf. 35a for the type but dated AH 601).
Grading/Status: Extremely fine and extremely rare.
The 10 Mithqals pieces struck by the Ghurids were clearly not meant to be normal circulating coins for use by the public, their metal content being too valuable for any but exceptional single purchases. Their weight and alloy were carefully regulated at ten Mithqals of pure gold. Much of the treasure Mu’izz al-din and successive rulers of Ghazna took from India was transported to Afghanistan to be refined and struck into coins like these, to be stored in the ruler's treasury. As the ruler's personal property the contents of the treasury lay at his disposal to use as he wished. Whenever he needed money to pay his army or cover his outlays he could order ten Mithqals pieces to be restruck into currency coins. Or if he wanted to reward meritorious service, the recipient could receive the coins as "prize" money to be mounted for suspension, concealed as buried treasure, or returned to the mint and exchanged for the equivalent in dinars and dirhams. On this coin, dated AH 597, the Kufic letter forms are inscribed in unpointed script, which is the way that most Arabic was written up to that time so that the viewer could recognize the meaning from the familiar shapes of the words rather than the individual letters. The movement to add diacritical points to individual letters that took place in the Sunni world and converted literate viewers into readers came shortly after this coin was struck and was in line with improvements in the tuition delivered in the medreses encouraged by the ‘Abbasid caliph named on these coins, al-Nasir li-din Allah.