The scourge of the Crusaders, Saladin, is immortalised on an impressive new silver coin from The Treasurists

Building themselves an impressive reputation with their innovative copper-cored coins, Precious Metal Collectors also work with Thai company, The Treasurists, to issue some excellent standard silver coins as well. The latest to appear is this excellent issue starring one of the great Middle Eastern warriors of all time, Saladin, a legend of the many Crusades.

It ticks all the boxes for this genre, being a rimless, antique-finished, ultra high relief coin, formed in two ounces of fine silver. It bears an artistic style quite different from that of the Mint of Poland and CIT/Numiscollect releases, and that’s no bad thing. After all, don’t they say ‘variety is the spice of life’? The bulk of the main face is filled with a close in look at the man himself, packed with fine detail. It is, in our view at least, an awesome piece of work, looking like it sits on a canvas many times larger than the 45 mm diameter piece of metal it actually does.

The Ayyubid army in the background, with Saladin atop a rearing horse and his distinctive curved ‘Damascus’ sword in evidence, is equally well done, despite the absence of any Crusader foes. Perhaps a future release will showcase his traditional foe, Richard the Lionheart. Coins from this producer have settled on the Republic of Chad as the issuing nation of choice, so the requisite emblem takes pride of place on the obverse. In a nice touch, the script has been changed to an Arabic-style one, although the actual text remains as it should.

One of those mints that knows how to present a coin as well, there’s a custom themed shipper and box with this one, and a mintage capped at 500 pieces. A terrific reelease with a subject that eschews the fantasy world for one of hard history. More please.

AN-NASIR SALAH AD-DIN YUSUF IBN AYYUB

Known as Salah ad-Din or Saladin (1137 – 4 March 1193), was the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty and the first to hold the title of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. A Sunni Muslim of Kurdish ethnicity, Saladin led the Muslim military campaign against the Crusader states in the Levant. During his reign, Saladin has been described as the de facto Caliph of Islam and at the height of his power, his empire included Egypt, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia, the Hejaz, Yemen and other parts of North Africa.

He was originally sent to Fatimid Egypt in 1164 alongside his uncle Shirkuh, a general of the Zengid army, on the orders of their lord Nur ad-Din to help restore Shawar as vizier of the teenage Fatimid caliph al-Adid. A power struggle ensued between Shirkuh and Shawar after the latter was reinstated. Saladin, meanwhile, climbed the ranks of the Fatimid government by virtue of his military successes against Crusader assaults against its territory and his personal closeness to al-Adid. After Shawar was assassinated and Shirkuh died in 1169, al-Adid appointed Saladin vizier, a rare nomination of a Sunni Muslim to such an important position in the Isma’ili Shia caliphate. During his tenure as vizier, Saladin began to undermine the Fatimid establishment and, following al-Adid’s death in 1171, he abolished the Fatimid Caliphate and realigned the country’s allegiance with the Sunni, Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate.

In the following years, he led forays against the Crusaders in Palestine, commissioned the successful conquest of Yemen, and staved off pro-Fatimid rebellions in Upper Egypt. Not long after Nur ad-Din’s death in 1174, Saladin launched his conquest of Syria, peacefully entering Damascus at the request of its governor. By mid-1175, Saladin had conquered Hama and Homs, inviting the animosity of other Zengid lords, the official rulers of Syria’s various regions. Soon after, he defeated the Zengid army at the Battle of the Horns of Hama and was thereafter proclaimed the “Sultan of Egypt and Syria” by the Abbasid caliph al-Mustadi. Saladin made further conquests in northern Syria and Jazira, escaping two attempts on his life by Assassins, before returning to Egypt in 1177 to address issues there. By 1182, Saladin had completed the conquest of Muslim Syria after capturing Aleppo, but ultimately failed to take over the Zengid stronghold of Mosul.

Under Saladin’s command, the Ayyubid army defeated the Crusaders at the decisive Battle of Hattin in 1187, and thereafter wrested control of Palestine—including the city of Jerusalem—from the Crusaders, who had conquered the area 88 years earlier. Although the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem continued to exist until the late 13th century, its defeat at Hattin marked a turning point in its conflict with the Muslim powers of the region. Saladin died in Damascus in 1193, having given away much of his personal wealth to his subjects. He is buried in a mausoleum adjacent to the Umayyad Mosque. Saladin has become a prominent figure in Muslim, Arab, Turkish and Kurdish culture, and he has often been described as being the most famous Kurd in history.

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION 10,000 Francs CFA (Chad)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
DIMENSIONS 45.0 mm
FINISH Antique
MODIFICATIONS Ultra high-relief
MINTAGE 500
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes
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