© Kunsthistorisches Museum © Kunsthistorisches Museum

Name of Object:

Presentation coin


Vienna, Austria

Holding Museum:

Kunsthistorisches Museum


Hegira 3rd century / AD 9th century

Type of object:


Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):


Period / Dynasty:

Abbasid, caliph al-Mutawakkil (AH 232–247 / AD 847–861)




This unique silver presentation coin of the Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil (AH 232–247 / AD 847–861) is of seminal importance. The only extant example in the world, it is now in the Coin Collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Following Sassanian coin typology, the obverse features an en face portrait of the caliph, the reverse a standing man holding a dromedary. The inscription reads: "In the name of God, Muhammad is his messenger, al-Mutawakkil bi-Allah", and on the reverse: "In the year [AH] 241 [AD 855/6] al-Mu`tazz bi-Allah."

Such commemoration coins were distributed among the populace on special occasisons. We know that al-Mutawakkil had five million silver coins minted to distribute like rose petals among the assembled guests. This coin may also have been devised as a commemorative coin as its reverse commemorated the submission of the camel-riding Biğāh from the Sudan.

Citation of this web page:

 "Presentation coin" in Explore Islamic Art Collections , Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;EPM;at;Mus22;41;en&id=coins_and_medals

MWNF Working Number: AT2 41

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 Artistic Introduction

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