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Countermarked silver abbasi coin of Shah Abbas II


Diameter: 25.000 mm
Weight: 7.380 g

Bequeathed by W.R. Jacks

CM 1959-10-20-34

Room 68: Money

    Countermarked silver abbasi coin of Shah 'Abbas II

    Safavid dynasty, AH 1064 / AD 1653
    Tabriz, Iran

    The Dutch strike again

    The Dutch East India Company took over the Portuguese trading stations in Sri Lanka in 1638, and seized control of the town of Jaffna in 1658. Like the Portuguese, the Dutch only occupied the coastal regions of the island. For silver currency they initially used surviving Portuguese issues or current coins of the Safavid dynasty in Persia, countermarked with monograms, predominantly those of the Dutch settlement of Galle (GLL) or of the Company (VOC: Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie).

    This coin of Shah 'Abbas II (reigned 1642-66) was minted in Tabriz, Iran, in 1653. A Persian couplet on the front translates 'In the world, Abbas the second, by the favour of God, struck the coin of the Constellations'. The reverse gives the Islamic profession of faith, the shahada: 'There is no other god but Allah'. The coin reached Sri Lanka as a result of the East-West trade (particularly in spices), where it was countermarked with the Company monogram, VOC, and given the Dutch currency value of 16 stuivers.

    J. Cribb, B. Cook and I. Carradice, The coin atlas (London and Sydney, Macdonald Illustrated, 1990)


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