DELHI SULTANS, Mu’izzuddin Muhammad bin Sam, 1193-1203 AD, gold half stater


DELHI SULTANS, Mu’izzuddin Muhammad bin Sam, 1193-1203 AD, 1/2 stater, no date, Bayana mint, Obverse: Lakshmi seated facing, Reverse: SRIMAD HMIR MAHAMAD SAM (Nagari), rounded letters, gold, 15mm, 4.5g, T378, GG-D6, aVF

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Dehli is how Delhi is written in Arabic. The Dehli Sultans, or “slave kings of Delhi,” started out as Turkish slave soldiers (mamluks). As mamluks were often given positions of responsibility by their owners, there was a tendency for them to usurp power and establish dynasties, and that’s what happened in Delhi. The reference used for the coins is “The Coins of the Indian Sultanates,” by Goenka and Goron.

The earliest ancient Indian coins were the “bent bar” punchmarked silvers of the Achaemenid Persians occupying Gandhara in northwest Pakistan. By the 3rd century BC coins were in general use in most of India and Ceylon, and in subsequent centuries struck round coins in gold, silver and copper came into use throughout the subcontinent and beyond to Southeast Asia and Pacific islands to Java and beyond.