Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Coin of Ahmad Shah Abdali



General Information


Durrani Rulers of Afghanistan and India, 1160-1258 H/1747-1842 AD

Ruler and dates

Ahmad Shah Durr-i Durran ibn Zaman Khan, (1160-1186 H/1747-1772 AD)

Mint name

Dira – Dira or Dera was the frontier town of Dira Ghazi Khan in Pakistan west of the Indus river


1162 H regnal year 2 (1748-1749 AD)

Metal and denomination

Silver sawa’i rupi

Weight and measurement

13.48 g / 25.0 mm

Legend and Design



a lion passant to left with sun rising above back within which the words around:
hukm shud za qadir-i bi-chun ba … sikka zan bar sim wa zar az awj-i mahi ta ba mah
within rays of sun ahmad pad / shah
“The order came from the Peerless Powerful One to (Ahmad Padshah) to strike coin on gold and silver from the ascension of Pisces to the Moon, Ahmad Padshah”



darb dira / sana 2 / julus-i / maymanat-i / manus
“Struck Dira, year 2 of the accession of prosperous fortune”
with groups of dots interspersed among the legend

Historical Note 

After the last years of Safawid rule in Iran the Afghans began to play an increasingly important military rĂ´le. Many of them were recruited by Nadir Shah Afshari to accompany him on his campaign into India in 1150-1151 H (1737-1738 AD), when he overcame the Mughals, sacked Delhi and returned to Iran with much booty, including the Peacock Throne.

Among these recruits was Ahmad Khan, who may be called the founder of the state of Afghanistan. His father was leader of the Abdali tribe of Herat, which had settled around Kandahar.

Having entered Nadir Shah’s service, Ahmad Khan quickly rose to a position of command. After the assassination of Nadir Shah in 1160 (1747), Ahmad Khan was elected by the Afghan soldiers to be their ruler, and from then on he saw himself as the leader of the eastern lands from Mashhad to India.

Ahmad Khans aim was to consolidate his power in Afghanistan, take advantage of the anarchic situation in India by claiming for himself the lands that had been conquered by Nadir Shah, and provide employment for his turbulent followers. He was acclaimed with the name Ahmad Shah Durr-i Durran, meaning “Pearl of Pearls”, and his dynasty became known as the Durranis. Ahmad made Kandahar his capital and renamed the town Ahmadshahi.

It was on the first of Ahmad Khan’s nine Indian expeditions that this special, sawa’i (1 ¼ weight) rupi was struck in the frontier town of Dira. The obverse bears the sun in Leo, the fortunate conjugation and the sign of a victorious ruler, with the long-tailed lion facing to the left and the sun’s rays rising from his back. It was probably issued as a donative coin, rather than as currency for circulation, to encourage Ahmad’s troops. The Durranis also favoured the Persian distichs, which were so popular on the coinages of the Shahs of Iran, the Mughals and other Indian rulers.

Source: http://www.davidmus.dk/en/collections/islamic/dynasties/india/coins/c368?back=1&show=comment

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