Coin (obverse), dirham of Isma'il ben Ahmad

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From Storr Rock, Skye

Postcard of Coin (obverse), dirham of Isma'il ben Ahmad.
© National Museums Scotland

Coin (obverse), dirham of Isma'il ben Ahmad

This silver coin is part of a hoard of hacksilver and Anglo-Saxon and Arabic coins buried at Storr Rock in Skye around 935 to 940. The mixture of coins from far-flung areas and silver bullion indicates that the hoard belonged to a Viking trader or settler.

The dirham was minted for Isma'il ben Ahmad, an Arabic ruler of Tashkent (modern day Uzbekistan). The coin was minted in 899 or 900, but was over 40 years old when buried in the hoard.

The Viking world stretched from the Middle East to eastern Canada, with traders moving objects throughout these areas. One route led from the Arabic empire into Russia and across the Baltic to Scandinavia, and from there to the west.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-060-129-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.C9682
Date: 899 - 900
Coin minted 899 or 900, but buried between 935 and 950
Material: Silver; slight to moderate wear. Inscription: Obv. Arabic script / Rev. Arabic script
Dimensions: 26.50 x 28.50 mm D / Die Axis: 1.5
What: Coin, dirham
Subject: Queen Street Coin Collection
Who: Isma'il ben Ahmad
Skye Hoard (Trotternish), 1891
Where: Al-Shash / Tashkent
Scotland, Inverness-shire, Skye, Trotternish
Description: Isma'il ben Ahmad silver dirham, Arab (Samanid), Tashkent, 899 - 900 (286 AH)
  • SCBI (NMAS); Stevenson, R.B.K., no 697 
  • Stevenson, Robert B.K. Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles. National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland. Part I. Anglo-Saxon coins (with associated foreign coins). London: British Academy, 1966, no. 697. 
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