Ursula Kampmann published an article on a new book about Islamic coins in the December 10, 2015 issue of CoinsWeekly. -Editor
Tim Wilkes, Islamic Coins & Their Values. Volume 1: The Mediaeval Period. Spink, London, 2015. 285 pages, coloured illustrations.
Hardcover, 14,5 x 22,3 cm. 978-1-907-427-49-7. GBP 40.
Collectors who assemble Islamic coins face many challenges. The often calligraphically beautifully designed specimens usually do not
reveal very much to the user if he or she does not possess a basic knowledge of the Arabic language at least. Not least because of this the
West witnesses only so few collectors of those intriguing coins. Dealers, on the other hand, can no longer afford the luxury to forego
Islamic coins. They repeatedly face the problem of having to catalog the coins in a reasonably accurate way. So far, they used to check
with the, nowadays rather outdated book “The World of Islam“, written by Mitchinger. Now, Tim Wilkes has published a new catalog. Lavishly
illustrated, it gives the current prices for 2999 coin types in the grading “very fine”.
First of all, do not expect too much of this book. It is what the Swiss call “sec”, an outright consistently dry basic list of Islamic
coins. Chronologically, it focuses on the Middle Ages, on the period between the 7th and the 16th century. Arranged partly according to
dynasties, partly to geographical units, the different denominations are presented here, classified according to ruler. Number, name of
ruler, and denomination are stated. That’s it. Nothing else.
In most cases an illustration is provided, as well as an assessment in US dollars for every single number, except for extremely rare
pieces. You will find brief historico-numismatic introductions and – highly convenient – the relevant specialist literature, if
We must not forget that this is the first edition of a catalog which, thanks to the increasing interest in the Islamic world, will be
reprinted again and again in the years to come. It is a very useful tool, which, certainly and very soon, nobody would like to do without
anymore. The numbering “Volume 1” points to a follow-up, dealing with the modern era, which the author is currently working on. He attends
many coin fairs. Therefore, talk to him about the information you would like to see included. I for one would wish for an Arabic alphabet
and a schematic drawing for the large series – the Abbasids, for example – which can tell me where to find which information on the
But this is only one of many possible suggestions. First of all, it is an achievement in itself that this catalog makes it easier to
identify Islamic coins.
To read the complete article, see:
Price guide for Islamic coins (www.coinsweekly.com/en/News/4?&id=3806)
To order the book at Spink, see Islamic Coins and their Values,
Volume 1: The Mediaeval Period by Wilkes, T. (www.spinkbooks.com/product.php?xProd=541&xSec=47)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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