al-Musta’sim, ‘Abbasid Caliph AH 640-656/AD 1242-1258

SICA-4, 1295; A 275, Extremely Fine

Madinat al-Salam (Baghdad) mint (11.07gm). Fancy quatrefoil containing Kalima, name and titles of al-Mustansir, Qur’an 30:4 vertically in lobes right and left, mint and date in margin. Reverse, Fancy quatrefoil with continuation of Kalima. In reverse margin, Qur’an 9:33, continuing into right and left lobes of quatrefoil.


In 1258, the Mongols overran Baghdad and al-Musta’sim was executed by Hulagu Khan. Though the details may be apocryphal we are told that the Mongols had a tradition that no drop of royal blood should ever touch the earth. To that end, al-Musta’sim was rolled in a carpet, beaten with clubs and trampled by horses. Another tradition, recounted by the famous traveler Marco Polo, told that upon discovering al-Musta’sim’s great stores of treasure which might have been spent in defense of Baghdad, Hulagu locked the caliph in his treasure room without food or water, saying “eat of thy treasure as much as thou wilt, since thou art so fond of it”.