Name of Object:



Rabat, Morocco

Holding Museum:

Numismatic Museum of the Maghreb Bank

About Numismatic Museum of the Maghreb Bank, Rabat.

Original Owner:

J.D. Brèthes

Date of Object:

Hegira 1020 / AD 1612

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Cast and struck gold.


Diameter 2.6 cm, weight 4.53 g

Period / Dynasty:


Workshop / Movement:

Striking workshop in Marrakesh.


This coin, struck by Mulay Zaydan (r. AH 1012–37 / AD 1603–27) is an example of the Sa'did coining of the son of al-Mansur. It is off-centre and off-round, and bears four concentric circles, one of which is stippled.
The centre of the reverse is inscribed with the name, titulature and Sharifian ancestry of the reigning prince: 'Prince of believers, son of the Imam Ahmad al-Mansur, Prince of the believers, the Sharif Hasani'. The circular inscription bears the name of the striking workshop (Marrakesh) and the date: 'Struck in the town of Marrakesh, may God protect it, in the year 1020 [AD 1612]'.
The profession of faith appears in the centre of the obverse, running from top to bottom. In middle appear the initials (alama) and at the bottom ‘Abdallah al-Imam', the name of the prince who founded the dynasty. The circular inscription reproduces the end of Qur'anic verse 33 of Sura 33 ('The Factions'): 'God only wishes to take away from you the horror as people of His House and to purify you thoroughly'. The choice of the end of this verse, which from AH 992 / AD 1584 began to appear on coins, is another reminder of the Sharifian origin of the dynasty.
Despite the clumsiness of the strike, this coin is not free of decorative aspirations: the upstrokes of the cursive letters end in bevels and the texts are embellished with fleurons, small dots, stars and crescent moons scattered over its surface.
A new element appears on this coin: the initials or alama. This type of monogram with which Mulay Zaydan, like his father, signed official documents became the distinctive and hereditary mark of the dynasty. Consequently it was engraved on coins and cannon bronzes. Remarkable for its extent, these initials, also called hamdala, are reminiscent of the tughra used by the Persians and the Ottomans.

View Short Description

Despite its clumsy minting, this coin has some decorative elements and an innovation: initials. Reminiscent of the tughra used by the Ottomans, this became a distinctive and hereditary mark of the dynasty, and was also engraved in cannons.

How date and origin were established:

Inscription on the coin.

How Object was obtained:

Purchased in 1987; part of the Brèthes collection. An enlightened numismatist, Brèthes lived in Morocco in the first half of the 20th century, and built up an important collection of coins found in Morocco from periods throughout its history, from Antiquity to 1940.

How provenance was established:

Inscription on the coin.

Selected bibliography:

Brèthes, J. D., Contribution à l'histoire du Maroc par les recherches numismatiques, Casablanca, 1939.
Castries, H. de, “Les signes de validation des chérifs saadiens”, Hespéris, Rabat, 1921, I, fasc. 3, pp.231–52.

Citation of this web page:

Naima El Khatib-Boujibar "Dinar" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2024.;ISL;ma;Mus01_F;41;en

Prepared by: Naima El Khatib-BoujibarNaima El Khatib-Boujibar

Archéologue et historienne de l'art, titulaire d'une licence en lettres (française), N. Elkhatib-Boujibar a également étudié l'archéologie et l'histoire de l'art à l'Institut d'art et d'archéologie de Paris, l'art islamique et la muséologie à l'École du Louvre (Paris), et suivi des cours à l'Institut d'ethnographie de l'Université de Neuchâtel (Suisse). Elle a occupé plusieurs postes de responsabilité, parmi lesquels directrice des Musées et de l'Archéologie, inspectrice générale des Musées et de l'Archéologie, déléguée régionale du ministère de la Culture.
Elle a dirigé un chantier de fouille durant 20 ans et enseigné à l'Institut national marocain des sciences de l'archéologie et du patrimoine (INSAP). Elle a organisé différentes expositions sur le patrimoine marocain, au Maroc comme à l'étranger, et animé des cycles de conférence, dont celui sur l'art islamique à la “Villa des Arts” à Casablanca.
N. El Khatib-Boujibar a publié différents articles sur le patrimoine archéologique, artistique et architectural marocain, mais aussi sur d'autres sites islamiques et sur les arts mobiliers. Elle a également participé à la rédaction du catalogue Musée Sans Frontières Le Maroc andalou, à la rencontre d'un art de vivre.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: MO 62


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