Recently, I spent some time studying the early coins of Muscat and Oman. At first glance, they seem to be rather confusing, and they can be, so I decided to put together this brief overview to simplify a possibly daunting and intimidating group of coins.
The first coins were issued in 1311 Hijra (~ 1891 A.D.) under the reign of Faisal bin Turki. The denominations were 1/12 Anna, also known as Ghazi, and 1/4 Anna, also known as Paisa. The initial issue of 1311 was only minted that year and replaced by a second and entirely different issue between 1312 and 1318. The first issue is illustrated below:
The second issue brought with it a very wide variety of designs and fonts and styles, all derived from the same basic features. The issue is known for being crude and with many minor and some major varieties, accounting for the large range of catalog numbers associated with this issue in the Standard Catalog of World Coins. In order to simplify which coins (referenced by KM #) exist for which date, see the chart below:
In the rightmost column:
- KM# 5 is 1312 over 1311
- KM# 7 is 1313 over 1311
- var is an unlisted variety with a retrograde 3
- KM# 16 is 1318 over 1315
Reading the dates on these coins can be a challenge if one’s first language is not Arabic. In fact, some of the numbers, particularly the 4 and the 6, are different from today’s commonly used Arabic. A very useful site for reading and converting dates of many calendars is the Creounity Time Machine which I highly recommend you bookmark and use as a handy reference tool. I borrowed and slightly adapted a chart from their site which can be used to read the Arabic numerals on these coins:
Additionally, an example of each date is illustrated and identified below which could be used as a cheat sheet.
After Faisal’s death, Taymoor bin Faisal did not mint any new coins. Instead, he countermarked existing coinage with “S T”, which likely stands for Sultan Taymoor (KM # 19.1 and 19.2). An example of this is illustrated below. Said bin Taymoor followed suit and countermarked existing coinage with “S S”, which likely stands for Sultan Said. The countermark exists in circlar and square shapes (KM # 20.1, 20.2, 21.1 and 21.2).
In 1359 Hijra (around 1939 A.D.), regular coinage was finally struck for Muscat and Oman, but this is perhaps the subject of another post.
I wanted to add that a number of people have done very good research on this series of coins in the past, and many varieties have been confirmed beyond those listed in the Standard Catalog of World Coins. To my knowledge, the checklist put together by Scott Cordry of Heritage is the most comprehensive one, listing around 75 varieties. I am now attempting to collect as many of these as possible, and upon nearing my goal, I intend to provide good illustrations of each one of these varieties that could be used as a cheat sheet.
“… I am now attempting to collect as many of these as possible, and upon nearing my goal, I intend to provide good illustrations of each one of these varieties that could be used as a cheat sheet.” Gosh – I have been doing exactly the same over the past years, but as this is only a sideline to a wider historical interest in Oman, I have not given it a priority, but also wanted to “go public” some time in 2013!
Hey there, I have this jewel, and I have no idea if it is authentic, I have no idea if there’s a way to confirm that.
it comes with a tooth of something… so well that’s it. I guess it is fake, as it is a jewerly piece. However thanks.
@Nana – thanks for your interest. This appears to be a Turkish coin from the Ottoman Empire period, struck in Constantinople. That said, it’s hard to tell by the photo but it seems like a reproduction that was made to be used for decorative purposes (i.e. jewelry). Hope this helps.
Recently I looked into my fathers coins that he brought home from both the European and the North African theaters during WWII. I am not sure where else he may have served except that he was in Morocco and Algeria.
There is an interesting,very small, Arab coin with the numbers 1299. (smaller than a dime).
It appears to be silver and is covered on both sides with script.
I have pictures and would like to email them to someone for identification.
@Bob – thanks for your comments. Feel free to send any photos or questions you have to email@example.com and I would be happy to help you identify the coin. Thank you for your interest.
Thank you. Ive attached a photo of each side of the coin.