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Sequin of Mahmud I



Diameter: 2.400 cm
Weight: 4.330 g

CM BMC OR 8 no. 506

Room 68: Money

    Sequin of Mahmud I

    Ottoman, AH 1143 / AD 1730-31
    Struck at Istanbul, modern Turkey

    Gold coins consisting of multiples or fractions of the sequin (Venetian ducat) also known as the ashrafi, were struck in the Ottoman Empire in the eighteenth century. Coins of Sultan Ahmed III (reigned 1703-30) and his successors are notable for the bold design of the tughra engraved on them. The tughra was an intricate device that served as the imperial monogram of the Ottoman sultans. First adopted on documents - the earliest examples are from the fourteenth century - its use extended to seals, coins and other inscriptions. On coins it was first used by Sultan Sulayman Celebi (reigned 1403-11) but did not become commonly used until the seventeenth century.

    Various theories have been advanced to explain its shape. One suggestion is that it represented the form of the fabulous bird the tughri, the totem of the Oghuz tribe from whom the Ottomans were descended. Each sultan generally chose the precise form of his tughra on the day of his accession from specimens prepared for him in advance.

    The tughra of Mahmud I (reigned 1730-54), seen on the obverse (front) of this coin, is made up of the following words: 'Mahmud Khan bin Mustafa el-muzaffer da'ima' ('Mahmud Khan son of Mustafa the ever victorious'). On the reverse the inscription translates: 'struck in Islambul 1143'. Islambul, which means 'where Islam abounds' began to be substituted for Constantinople in the seventeenth century.

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


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