CRUSADERS circa 1240-50 dirham


CRUSADERS, imitative coinage, circa 1240-50, dirham, date missing, Obverse: legend in 6-pointed star, Reverse: legend in 6-pointed star, silver, imitation of Ayyubid Al-Zahir, Aleppo mint, CCS1, A836, purchased from Seltman himself, scruffy, dark patch on one side, F

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When the Crusaders conquered large swathes of the Holy Land they found an economy richer and more carefully managed than theirs. Their early essays in coinage were imitations of the local money.

For about all of known human history since horses came on the scene people have liked to go marauding, during which they stole things, destroyed things, and killed people. From 1096 to 1271 it became fashionable in Western Europe to go over to the “Holy Land” and mix things up with the locals. That was called the “Crusades” over here on the Euro side. On the local side they were called Farangi, means Franks, means Foreigners. Winning battles is one thing, holding on is another. The Crusaders were eventually kicked out of the Middle East. They then turned their attentions to colonization.

The political arrangements that resulted in the nations of modern Europe began to emerge out of anarchy starting in the 7th century AD or so. Europe, for our purposes stretches from Greenland to somewhere in Russia. Collectors of Europe would likely include Russia. Collectors of Asia, even though about 2/3 of Russia is in Asia, probably not.

By “Modern World Coins” we mean here, generally, the round, flat, shiny metal objects that people have used for money and still do. “Modern,” though, varies by location. There was some other way they were doing their economies, and then they switched over to “modern coins,” then they went toward paper money, now we’re all going toward digital, a future in which kids look at a coin and say “What’s that?” We’ll say: “We used to use those to buy things.” Kids will ask “How?” The main catalog reference is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, to which the KM numbers refer.