Coin Weight

The Show


Coin weight AH 99–101/717–720 CE, Egypt Turquoise glass Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 1964.2.13

Coin weight

Inscribed glass disks like this transparent turquoise "coin" were used to weigh metal currency for payments in market transactions. This particular glass weight includes the name of Hayyan b. Shurayh, a finance director active in Egypt during the years 717–720. This early glass weight was thus made less than one hundred years after the emergence of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. Just as significantly, coins such as this one attest to systematic efforts to regulate economic affairs in North Africa as early as the Umayyad period (661–750).

Bibliography: Miles 1951a; Morton 1985; Bates 1993; 1981; Balog 1981; and Sijpesteijn 2013, 90, 96, 193, and 300.

Return to the Show