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The Coin Galleries: Sultans of Kashmir

The Sultanate of Kashmir was a creation of a Muslim adventurer from Swat by the name of Shah Mir. He came to Kashmir and rose to the position of minister in the court of the ruling Hindu king. At the king's death, Shah Mir married his widow and assumed the throne in 1346 or 1347, naming himself Shams ud-din.

The subsequent history of the kingdom is a never-ending story of palace intrigues and the constant competition for power between two families, the Sayyids and the Chaks. During one period, 1484-1537, power reverted back and forth continually between the two families, so much so that Muhammad Shah (a Sayyid) had five different reigns and Fath Shah (a Chak) had three! At this time, the Lodi dynasty of Delhi got involved in Kashmir's politics, although the effect was not long-lasting. Later, the Mughals also got involved. For a short stretch, an army from Kashgar under Haidar Dughlat invaded Kashmir and the sultan had to acknowledge the suzerainty of Sa'id Khan of Kashgar. Eventually, after Humayun recovered his Indian empire, Mughal influence once agin became paramount, and Kashmir was finally absorbed into the Mughal empire during the reign of Akbar (around 1586).

The coinage of the Kashmir Sultanate is unique in that it has its own weight standard ... the sasnu or sansu of approximately 6.2 gm. The unusual weight of the coins suggests that trade with other kingdoms was not a major part of the economy. All the coins are scarce to rare.

     
Zain al-'Abidin (1420-70)

Zain al-'Abidin (1420-70) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.17 gm., Dimensions: 16 x 16 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam zain al-'abidin, and frozen AH date 842 /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, date spelled out in margins
Ref: Rajgor 2797, Goron-Goenka K9
Zain al-'Abidin is the first known Kashmir sultan to have issued silver coins, and the first sultan whose name is listed on known coins. (Some anonymous copper coins have been attributed to Sikandar Shah I, who ruled 1393-1413.) This coin carries a 7-pellet "flower" (or sun?) under the word sultan on the obverse.

Zain al-'Abidin (1420-70) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.03 gm., Dimensions: 17 x 17 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam zain al-'abidin, and frozen AH date 842 /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, date spelled out in margins
Ref: Rajgor 2797 var, Goron-Goenka K9 var
This coin does not carry the 7-pellet flower under the word sultan on the obverse that is seen on GG K9 or Rajgor 2797. Instead, it shows a large single pellet, perhaps representing the sun.
Hasan Shah (1472-84)

Hasan Shah (1472-84) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.11 gm., Dimensions: 17 x 17 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam hasan shah, and AH date 876 (= 1471-72 CE) /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, date spelled out in margins
Ref: Rajgor 2823, Goron-Goenka K31

Hasan Shah (1472-84) Silver sasnu, with date error
Weight: 6.10 gm., Dimensions: 17 x 16 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam hasan shah, and AH date 786 (error for 876) /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, date spelled out in margins
Ref: Rajgor 2823 var, Goron-Goenka K31 var
Muhammad Shah (1484-1537, in 5 reigns)

Muhammad Shah (1484-1537) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.18 gm., Dimensions: 16 x 16 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam muhammad shah /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, date spelled out in margins
     c. AH 923-43 (= 1517-37 CE), during the Shah's fourth or fifth reigns
Ref: Rajgor 2832, Goron-Goenka K42

Muhammad Shah (1484-1537) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.22 gm., Dimensions: 16 x 16 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam muhammad shah /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, date spelled out in margins
     c. AH 923-43 (= 1517-37 CE), during the Shah's fourth or fifth reigns
Ref: Rajgor ---, Goron-Goenka K43
This variety has no date (in numerals) on the obverse.

Muhammad Shah (1484-1537) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.18 gm., Dimensions: 16 x 16 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam muhammad shah , with fixed date 842 below/
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, date spelled out in margins
     c. AH 923-43 (= 1517-37 CE), during the Shah's fourth or fifth reigns
Ref: Rajgor ---, Goron-Goenka K44
This coin differs from the normal Muhammad Shah coins in that the word azam at the top of the obverse legend is located above the word muhammad only, whereas in the normal coins (K42) the word azam stretches all the way across the flan above the words muhammad shah.
Fath Shah (1487-1517, in 3 reigns)

Fath Shah (1487-1517) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.23 gm., Dimensions: 15 x 15 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam fath shah /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, frozen date 842 spelled out in margins
     probably issued during the Shah's second or third reigns
Ref: Rajgor 2844, Goron-Goenka K57
Sikandar Shah (1517)

Fath Shah (1487-1517) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.23 gm., Dimensions: 15 x 15 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam sikandar shah /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, frozen date 842 spelled out in margins
Ref: Rajgor 2775, Goron-Goenka K71 (same dies)
According to Goron & Goenka, this type used to be attributed to Sikandar Shah of Kashmir, who ruled 1493-1513, but die analysis shows that it was struck later in the 1510's. So the prevailing theory is that it was struck in 1517 by Muhammad Shah in the name of Sikandar Lodi, in gratitude for his aid in helping Muhammad Shah regain his throne. Another possibility is that it is an issue of Fath Shah's son Sikandar, who was briefly a claimant to the throne. I confess I like this theory better.
Ibrahim Shah I (1528-29)

Ibrahim Shah I (1528-29) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.00 gm., Dimensions: 16 x 16 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam ibrahim shah, with bra on third line, below i-him /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, frozen date 842 spelled out in margins
     probably issued during the Shah's second or third reigns
Ref: Rajgor Rajgor 2861, Goron-Goenka K76
This could be an issue of Ibrahim Shah II some 10 years later.
Haidar Dughlat (1533) as vassal of Sa'id Khan of Kashgar

Haidar Dughlat (1533) Silver sasnu in name of Sa'id Khan of Kashgar
Weight: 5.77 gm., Dimensions: 15 x 16 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam mir sa'id ghan /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, frozen date 842 spelled out in margins
Ref: Rajgor 2888 var , Goron-Goenka K86
Haidar Dughlat of Kashgar invaded Kashmir in 1533 and issued coins in the name of his king, Sa'id Khan. This incursion was short-lived, however, and, some years later, Haidar Dughlat was to return apparently as a vassal of the Mughal emperor Humayun. The Sa'id Khan coins were issued over a very short period of perhaps less than a year.
Shams al-Din Shah II (1537-38)

Shams al-Din Shah II (1537-38) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.16 gm., Dimensions: 16 x 16 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam shams al-din shah /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, frozen date 842 spelled out in margins
Ref: Rajgor ---, Goron-Goenka K92 (same dies)
The fine style of this coin is unmatched in the entire Kashmir Sultanate series.
Isma'il Shah I (1538-40)

Isma'il Shah I (1538-40) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.10 gm., Dimensions: 15 x 16 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam isma'il shah /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, frozen date 842 spelled out in margins
Ref: Rajgor 2866, Goron-Goenka K95
Nazuk (Nadir) Shah (1540-1546)

Nazuk (Nadir) Shah (1540-1546) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.22 gm., Dimensions: 15 x 15 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam nadir shah /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, blundered date 842 spelled out in margins
Ref: Rajgor 2848, Goron-Goenka K100
Haidar Dughlat (1546-1550) as vassal of Humayun

Haidar Dughlat (1546-50) Silver sasnu in name of Humayun
Weight: 6.15 gm., Dimensions: 15 x 15 mm.
Legend: al-sultan al-a'zam muhammad humayun ghazi /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, spelled out in margins:
     AH date 953 (= 1546-47 CE)
Ref: Rajgor 2853, Goron-Goenka K104
Haidar Dughlat ruled Kashmir again from 1546 to 1550, but issued coins only in the name of the Mughal emperor Humayun.
Husain Shah (1562-70)

Husain Shah (1562-70) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.03 gm., Dimensions: 15 x 16 mm.
Legend: nasir al-din muhammad husain badshah ghazi /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, and date 970 (= 1562-63 CE),
     date also spelled out in margins
Ref: Rajgor ---, Goron-Goenka K121 var
This coin has a very attractive, bold style which is most unusual in the Kashmir Sultanate series. This particular legend arrangement was not included in Rajgor's catalogue, and this date (970) is not listed for this type by Goron & Goenka.
Muhammad Yusuf Shah (1579-86)

Muhammad Yusuf Shah (1579-86) Silver sasnu
Weight: 6.13 gm., Dimensions: 17 x 16 mm.
Legend: nasir al-din muhammad yusuf badshah ghazi /
Within central ornamental diamond: zarb Kashmir, and date 987 (= 1579-80 CE),
     date also spelled out in margins
Ref: Rajgor 2885, Goron-Goenka K135
The Kashmir Sultanate came to an end around 1586 when it was absorbed into the Mughal empire.
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