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V17 2014 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 17, Number 48, November 23, 2014, Article 22

COIN WORLD: ISIS COINAGE IMPROBABLE

Regarding the stories about the terrorist group ISIS (or ISIL) planning to introduce its own coinage, Jeff Starck of Coin World writes:

Facts and logic suggest it would be highly improbable for the jihadists to issue their own coins of any meaningful consequence.

That seems to be the consensus of opinion in numismatic circles. Time will tell if such coins actually appear, and how long they last, if at all. Here's an excerpt from Jeff's November 17, 2014 Coin World article. Thanks! -Editor

Images of reported proposed coins for ISIL
Images of reported proposed coins for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria

The numbers and the logic just don’t add up.

The reports indicate that copper, silver and gold coins are planned. Naturally, images purported to represent these coins feature imagery that is significant to Islam and the region. This is no surprise, given that coins have served as mediums of communication since ancient times. Whether showing the rose of Rhodes to identify the issuing city, or touting the accomplishments of a Roman emperor for propagandistic purposes, or honoring a fallen statesman like President Franklin D. Roosevelt on a coin linked to his health struggles, coinage has and does represent more than mere media of exchange.

But so far, there does not appear to be any statement from a U.S. government official or agency confirming that a statement attributed to ISIL (which the U.S. government uses rather than ISIS) is authentic. Coin World telephoned the Central Intelligence Agency’s media relations office and the Department of the U.S. Treasury for comment. A Treasury spokesperson released this statement: “Any currency issued by a terrorist organization, including ISIL, would have no value given that the currency would not be recognized in international currency markets.”

The article goes on to ask and explore questions such as "Can they obtain the metal and presses?" and "Could ISIL order its coins from a mint?"

Of more numismatic interest, the article also delves into historic emergency coin issues struck by armies on the run. -Editor

Dick Hanscom adds:

With so many other unofficial coins in the market, I am guessing these will become available in the next few months. Not from IS, ISIL, ISIS, but from some savvy marketer.

Dick thought the purported coins had "nice, clean designs." I have to admit those were my thoughts as well - clean, modern designs. Will we ever know who actually created the designs? -Editor

1916-T gold 15-rupie coin of German East Africa struck in Tabora
1916-T Gold 15-Rupie coin of German East Africa struck in Tabora

Minting equipment may be hard to come by, but there are instances of emergency issue coins being struck by armies on the run.

Look to Emperor Sulla in ancient Rome, or more recently, the famous German East African elephant coins struck in Tabora.

In both instances, engravers of varied skill created dies and formed gold so coins be struck the old-fashioned way, using a little muscle and sweat. Because they are not machine-produced, they would lack the precision that we have come to expect with coins.

Their crudity, then, would not match the design renderings released thus far.

His conclusion? "Add this evidence up and it quickly becomes clear that the most valuable thing that these “coins” may ever be used to purchase is publicity." -Editor

To read the complete article, see:
Can ISIL issue its own coins? Facts indicate coins would be highly improbable (www.coinworld.com/insights/can-isis-issues-its-own-coins--.html)

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
ISIS TO ISSUE ITS OWN COINAGE? (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v17n47a25.html)



Wayne Homren, Editor

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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