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Necdet Kabaklarli: "Mangir" Osmanli lmparatorlugu Bakir Paralari
Copper Coins of Ottoman Empire 1299-1808
Usaklilar Egitim ye Kultur Vakfi, Istanbul 1998.
XII, 564 pages with 3 tables and 6 graphs, 67 full page photo tables, 3 maps in colour.
Hardbound $ 250

       The author N. Kabaklarli was born at Usak, Turkey, in 1938. He graduated from the Economics Department at the Middle East Technical University in 1962. After graduating he studied woolen yarn and fabric manufacture at the Department of Textile Industry at the University of Leeds, England, until 1963. Then he was a manufacturer of textile products in Turkey. He is president of the Usaklilar Educational and Cultural Foundation. Kabaklarli has collected Ottoman copper coins for 40 years and during this time he has probably accumulated the most important collection of this kind.

       The present book, written in Turkish and in English, was completed in 1997. The book describes not only the coins in the authorís collection, but also those found in numerous museums at home and abroad and those in many private collections, altogether about 3000 coins. It seems that only the literature up to 1984 has been taken into consideration. The catalogue contains all copper coins from the very beginning of the Ottoman Empire until the end of the reign of sultan Selim III (1808), but only those coins were taken into consideration that could unequivocally be attributed to a certain sultan. Purely ornamental coins which neither show the minting place nor the year of minting were not included in the book (there is a special book on this subject, written by Olcer in 1975).

       After the introduction in Turkish a presentation in English follows which is really worth reading (21 pages). All essential aspects of minting of mangirs are discussed here. He points out in detail how the minting of copper coins essentially bore no other function for the Sublime Porte than that of acquiring additional income in periodical intervals. The copper coins were demonetised once a year and people were forced to buy new mangirs, to be paid in silver (akche). Kabaklarli was the first to realise that there also existed special "tax mangirs", inscribed with legends "tish ayyad" or "barraanii" (these words were formerly misread as minting places). Equally new are weight distribution diagrams, drawn for the first time for the coins of altogether 6 sultans. Hitherto it had not been possible to establish such statistics since there were not enough coins at hand.

       In the main part of the book, about 1200 coins are shown and described on 507 pages. For the many varieties only weights and diameters are mentioned. All drawings are enlarged, actually on unknown and differing scales. The major part of the drawings is excellent, but also less talented drawers have been at work A certain proportion of the drawings shows the coins as they are, incompletely struck and not fully legible. Roughly a third shows complete drawings of the legends and designs. Next to the drawings the Arabic inscriptions are given in transliteration, completed, if necessary. The catalogue contains an abundance of coins so far unknown and many from very rare mints:
Adilcevaz, Basra, Bergama, Cemiskezek, and Siirt, to give only a few examples. Of equal importance are the references to mint errors and overstrikes which may drive all those to despair who are less familiar with the Arabic language. The relatively large number of countermarked coins is also new and surprising. The many references to "copper coins minted with dies intended for silver coins" are also worth considenng. Surely these coins are without exception temporary forgeries. In many cases the corresponding photos show that for this kind of coinage forged dies had been used.

       At the end of the book there are 67 full page photo tables of good quality.The photos show the coins enlarged on an unknown scale.

       Unfortunately, there are many printing errors in the text and in the tables (it starts with the missing "the" in the English title) but the well-informed reader will certainly understand it.

       This publication is the most comprehensive description of Ottoman copper coins ever written, and thus an important contribution to the studies on Ottoman numismatics, and much honoured by all experts in this field. All those who are interested in the difficult field of Ottoman copper coins will derive great benefit from this book.

       The author has donated his entire collection of copper coins to the Usak Archeological Museum, and the revenue from the sale of his book he has donated to the Us*klilar Educational and Cultural Foundation. This may be a consolation for all those who feel that the price of the book is too high.


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