Iran-Arab Sasanian YE20 (AH31) 1 drachm SK mint

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Courtesy Steve Album

The Arabs overran the Sasanian Empire in the 650’s and established Islamic dominance over most of the territory. The Arab capital at the time was Medina, but the caliph (Umar I) left most of the local governments to manage as before, asking only allegiance to the new order. As a result, Persian coinage continued much as before, despite the Muslim prohibition against ‘graven images’. Initially, issues were anomymous, but eventually identified Umayyad governors. After the coinage reform of ‘Abd al-Malik I in 685 AD, the Sasanian imitations ceased and subsequent Islamic issues possessed only script.

The specimen shown was lot 64 in Steve Album sale 16 (Santa Rosa, CA, May 2013), where it sold for US$271.40. The catalog description reads[1]:
"ARAB-SASANIAN: Yazdigerd type, 652-668, AR drachm, SK (Sijistan), YE20 (frozen), the first Islamic silver coin, nice strike, VF to EF, S."

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: 4.04g, silver.

Catalog reference: A-1.


  • Album, Stephen. Checklist of Islamic Coins. Santa Rosa, 1998. Stephen Album.
  • [1]Album, Stephen. Stephen Album Rare Coins - Auction 16. Santa Rosa, 2013. Stephen Album Rare Coins.
  • Mitchiner, Michael. Oriental Coins and their Values - The World of Islam. London, 2000. Hawkins Publications.

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