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Beloved Gold, Zeri Mahbub, Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Egypt

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The Ottoman Zeri Mahbub gold coins were minted from 1451 to 1839 according to Friedberg's Gold Coins of the World.

They weighed around 3 grams and were around 20mm in diameter.


Zeri Mahbub means "Beloved Gold".


These coins were known in the West as "Sequins", named for the Venetian or Italian Zecchinos or Ducats.


All of the inscriptions were in Arabic writing of the Ottoman Turkish language.


The obverse had the Toughra or Sultan's ornate signature, and the mint name.

The Toughra included the Sultan's name, "Emperor", "Son of", his father's name, and "Always Victorious".

The main mints were Constantinople (Istanbul) and Cairo (Misr).


The reverse had (in Arabic):

Sultan of the two lands (Europe and Asia)

Sovereign of the two seas (Black and Mediterranean)

Sultan by inheritance

Son of a sultan


Later sultans added the regnal year (year of the sultan's reign) to coins, thus allowing them to be dated.



Ottoman Zeri Mahbub Sultan Mahmud I AH 1143 (AD 1730)

Gold, 20mm, 2.61gm, KM-221, no regnal year

Toughra (Sultan Mahmud, son of Mustafa II)

Struck in Egypt in 1143, no regnal year

(KM is Krause, Standard Catalog of World Coins)



Ottoman Zeri Mahbub Sultan Mustafa III AH 1171 (AD 1757)

Gold, 20mm, 2.33gm, KM-334, no regnal year

Toughra (Sultan Mustafa, Son of Ahmed III)

Struck in Egypt in 1171


Sequins are mentioned in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Treasure Island:


...doubloons and double guineas and moidores and sequins, the pictures of all the kings of Europe for the last hundred years,

strange Oriental pieces stamped with what looked like wisps of string or bits of spider's web...


And a fairly modern Ottoman coin, a pound or 100 Kurush:



Ottoman Pound (100 Kurush) Sultan Mehmed V AH 1327 (AD 1909)

Gold, 22mm, 7.10gm, KM-754

Regnal Year 3 (AD 1911)



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