Gold ashrafi coin of Süleyman the Magnificent

Ottoman, AH 926 / AD 1520
Struck at Sidra Keysi (Serbia)

The magnificence of Süleyman

The forty-six year reign (AD 1520-66) of Sultan Süleyman 'the Magnificent', known in Turkey as Kanuni ('lawgiver'), was a high point in the history of the Ottoman Empire (1281-1924). Süleyman presided over a vast empire that stretched from the heartland of Turkey well into Europe and North Africa. Art and architecture flourished under his patronage. The domed mosques of this period are possibly the most impressive legacy.

This period of affluence is reflected in the coinage. Gold ashrafi coins were struck at over twenty mints within the Empire. They are all dated according to the first year of Süleyman's reign and have a simple repertoire of inscriptions. On this example, the inscription describes the magnificence of Süleyman, the 'Striker of the glittering money and Lord of might and victory by land and sea'. The inscription on the reverse of the coin gives the sultan's name and that of his father, Selim I 'the Grim' (reigned 1512–20), the mint and the date. There are no religious inscriptions on these coins.

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More information


M. Broome, A handbook of Islamic coins (London, 1985)

S. Album, A checklist of Islamic coins, 2nd ed. (Santa Rosa, 1998)

J. Sultan, Coins of the Ottoman Empire an, 2 vols. (Oregon, 1997)


Museum number

CM BMC 187 OR 8



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