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The E-Sylum: Volume 23, Number 9, March 1, 2020, Article 21

SHARJAH MUSEUM OF ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION

Numismatourist Howard Berlin submitted this report of his recent visit to the coin collection in the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization. Thanks! -Editor

1 Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization

1. A view of the front entrance to the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.

A previous E-Sylum issue chronicled my visit to the Dubai Coins Museum. A few days later I took a taxi to the lesser known emirate of Sharjah which is the third largest of the seven UAE emirates, and is located about 45 minutes east of Dubai. My main purpose in traveling to Sharjah was to visit the coin collection on display at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization but I also wanted to get a broad overview of Sharjah while on hop on hop off tour bus.

There are a few things interesting about traveling to Sharjah from Dubai by taxi. There is a chain link fence at the border of the two emirates (can you think of anywhere else there is a border fence?). If you want the taxi to continue across the border, it costs an additional 25 dirhams ($6.81) just for that. However, there is a small opening in the fence and the taxi will drop you off there just on the Dubai side of the border fence and you then walk across. It's like walking across the border from the US to Mexico or from Spain to Gibraltar, etc. The Sahara Center shopping mall, where I needed to go to catch a hop on hop off tour bus, is just on the Sharjah side of the fence. So, with my bad knees and lower back, I hobbled across the border, saving 25 dirhams but I'm not sure it was worth the price for the pain. Although most taxis in Dubai take credit cards, but in Sharjah taxis are not allowed to take credit cards.

The current museum building was opened to the public on June 6, 2008 which replaced one that opened in 1996. It is located on Cornish Street in Sharjah's Al Nabba neighborhood and overlooks the waters of the Persian Gulf with Iran in the far distance.

2 Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization coin displays

2. Seven free-standing displays contain over 250 coins.

3 Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization coin display detail 1

3. A magnifying lens with a light can be positioned to view a more detailed image of any coin.

The museum's early Islamic coin collection is displayed in the atrium outside the Al Majarrah Gallery. Seven free-standing displays and several computer touch screens provide additional numismatic information about the collection. There are more than 250 coins on display and the text material on the sides of the displays provide information about the following topics:

  • Islamic Coins
  • Early Coins
  • Coins of the Umayyad Era
  • Abbasid coins
  • Minting and Authority
  • Inscriptions on Coins
  • Coins, Power, and Prestige
  • Coins as Historical Records
  • Coin Design
4 Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization coin display detail 2 5 Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization coin display summary

4. The sides of each display provides information about the coins for that display.

5. Each display lists a summary of all coins in Arabic on one side and English on the other.

Starting with the dinars of Abdul Malik bin Marwan (65-86 H/685-705 AD), the coins continue through those of Olcsytu Hudabende Muhammad Khan (703-726 H/1304-1316 AD). All text material is bilingual – in Arabic and English.

6 Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization coin display touchscreen

6. Touch-screen displays provide additional information about the coins in the collection.

7 Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization Islamic Coins book in gift shop

7. Front cover of the book, Islamic Coins, which is for sale in the museum's gift shop.

There is a gift shop where the book, Islamic Coins by Osman Fidan is for sale. Its price is AED 131.25 ($35.74). The museum is open Saturday to Thursday from 8:00 AM got 8:00 PM, and on Friday 4pm-8pm. Entry fees are AED 5.00 ($1.36) for children (2-12 years) and AED 10.00 ($2.72) for adults 13 years old and up.

At various points in life I've had both minor and more severe knee and back problems, all thankfully gone at this point. But having both issues together would lead me and likely most of us to stay close to home and closer to the couch. Not Howard, who continues his world travels nevertheless. Hooray for Howard! Thanks for these great reports! -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
THE DUBAI COINS MUSEUM (https://www.coinbooks.org/v23/esylum_v23n08a23.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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