Dating Arabic Coins

Determining the date or denomination of an Arabic coin can be challenge if they are not written in both Eastern and Western Arabic (those used in western nations) numerals. Once you have become familiarized with the ten basic numerals, however, it becomes much more simple.

Since Eastern Arabic numbers are used in the same way as Western numbers (both systems have the same roots), all you have to do to figure them out is compare each number in the date or denomination to this chart:

Here are some examples:

١٣١٩ – 1319

١٩٦٤ – 1964

٢٠٠٩ – 2009

Now that you can determine what the numbers on your Arabic coins mean, the next step is determining the date. Most countries with Islam as the main religion use the Muslim, or Hejira calendar.

The Muslim calendar is based on the lunar year (which means it’s 11 days shorter than the Christian calendar). The Gregorian calendar (which is used in most western nations) is based on the year in which Christ was born, but the Hejira calendar begins in the year that Muhammad fled Mecca, which took place in the Christian year 622.

If a date is ever followed by the letters ‘AH’, the date written is dated with Hejira dates. The letters ‘AD’ refer to the Christian date, of course. Because of the discrepancy in the calendars, dating Muslim coins can be very difficult for those in western nations. The entire process becomes a lot easier with one very simple equation.

To figure out how the date on your Islamic coin translates to Christian years, simply multiply the Islamic date by 0.97, then add 622. This gives you a rough equivalent. Here is an example: 1421 (Muslim year) x 0.97 + 622 = 2000 (Christian year) With this information, you should be able to determine the date and denomination of any Arabic coin!

١٣١٩ – 1319

١٩٦٤ – 1964

٢٠٠٩ – 2009

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