A Guide to the Bibliography of Yemeni Coinage

by Michael L. Bates ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
Curator of Islamic Coins
The American Numismatic Society

[from Yemen Update 40 (1998):#6]

Yemeni coinage was formerly little known, with a literature consisting of a few scattered articles. There has been an explosion of interest and new discoveries in the last three decades. This is a very informal bibliography extracted from my notes, with important help from others. Additions, corrections, and comments are welcome and will be added to future editions.

This list incorporates substantial material supplied by Jim Farr. Ed Hohertz and Jorgen Somod also provided helpful suggestions. I am grateful to all of them.

general references

• Michael Mitchiner, Oriental Coins and Their Values. London: Hawkins Publications, 1977-79. Each of these three massive volumes provides a pictorial representation of a huge sector of Eurasian coinage, making them convenient for coin identification. The author's original and stimulating synthetic historical-geographical organization is noteworthy.

I. The World of Islam (1977; reprint 1998).

II. The Ancient and Classical World, 600 B.C.-AD 650 (1978).

III. Non-Islamic States and Western Colonies, AD 600-1979 (1979).

ancient Yemen

This section incorporates material compiled by Roxani Margariti of Princeton University, ANS Hamad Fellow 1997-98.

• Günther Dembski, "Die Münzen der Arabia Felix," in Jemen (ed. Werner Daum; Innsbruck and Frankfurt/Main), 132-34 = English edition, 125-28.

• S. C. Munro-Hay, "Coins of Ancient South Arabia," Numismatic Chronicle 154 (1994), 191-203. Includes a chart of all ancient South Arabian coin types.

• S. C. Munro-Hay, "Coins of Ancient South Arabia, II," Numismatic Chronicle 156 (1996), 33-47. Presents major revisions and additions to the 1994 scheme derived from new collections and publications. Particularly important for imitation Attic tetradrachms and for Himyarite issues.

• S. C. Munro-Hay, Coinage of Arabia Felix (reportedly forthcoming, 1996).

• Mitchiner, Ancient and Classical, 95-96.


It is a fairly safe bet that some of the coins of the Aksumites (and some of the imitations of their coins) were struck in Yemen. The question is, which ones? The Aksumite series is one of those very difficult ones in which the number of attributions for any given coin is approximately 1.5 times the number of specialists who have written about it.

• Stuart Munro-Hay and Bent Juel-Jensen, Aksumite Coinage. 1995. Revised and enlarged edition of Munro-Hay, The Coinage of Aksum, 1984.

• Wolfgang Hahn, "Die Münzprügung des axumitischen Reiches," Litterae Numismaticae Vindobonenses II (1983), 113-80.

• E. Godet, "Bilan des recherches recentes en numismatique axoumite," Revue Numismatique 1986, 186-87.

• Mitchiner, Ancient and Classical, 96-100.

Islamic period


• Stephen Album, A Checklist of Islamic Coins (2nd edition; Santa Rosa, CA: The Author, 1998), 55-61. "Until about 1980, medieval Yemeni coinage was seldom seen in the market. Since then, large quantities have emerged, large numbers of new types, few of which have been published.... At first... Yemeni coins sold for far more than other Islamic coins of comparable rarity. Further increases in supply have depressed the market and eliminated much of this disparity." The Checklist only lists what is known, without descriptions, but includes a mass of commentary, often of the greatest utility. Illustrations have been postponed to a supplemental volume to follow.

• Ramzi J. Bikhazi, "Coins of al-Yaman, 132-569 A.H.," al-Abhath (Beirut) 23 (1970), 1-127. The offprint, a substantial booklet, is often found as a separate publication. This was an excellent survey and critique of the existing literature. It is still useful today as a reference, although it has been superseded on many points.

• Nicholas Lowick, "The Mint of San‘â': A Historical Outline," Ch. 16 of San'â': An Arabian Islamic City (ed. R.B. Serjeant and R. Lewcock, London, 1983), 303-09.

• Robert E. Darley-Doran, "Examples of Islamic Coinage from Yemen," Yemen (ed. Werner Daum; Innsbruck, 1987), 182-84, 201-03 (not in the German edition). 21 exemplary coins, mostly gold; good bibliography.

• Stefan Nebehay, "Muslimische Münzen aus dem Jemen," in Jemen. Im Land der Königin von Saba (exhibition, Museum für Völkerkunde, Vienna, 1989), 144-51.

third/ninth century; Abbasid governors

• Album, Checklist, 55.

• Muharram, A. A., "Danânîr islâmiyya min awâ'il al-'asr al-'abbâsî bi'l-yaman," Dirâsât Yamaniyya 3 (1979).

• Ilisch, The Turath Collection, 36-37. Identifies the earliest Abbasid dinars of Yemen in their historical context.

fourth/tenth century; Rassid and Abbasid

• Album, Checklist, 56.

• S. Shamma, "A Hoard of Fourth Century Dinars from Yemen," American Numismatic Society Museum Notes 17 (1971), 235-39. MuÝawwaq dinars from Baysh, Zabîd, and 'Adan with the names of Abbasid caliphs and governors, dated 331 to 362 (942-73).

• David W. Sorenson, "The History of the Yemen in the Tenth Century," in Medieval Coins XXXI (Alex G. Malloy Price List, 1995), 4-9: a large selection of suds or sudaysi 1/6 dirham coins, excellent listing of the varieties.

• Naif A. al-Shara'an of SAMA, Riyadh, is doing a master's thesis on the suds (letter Dec. 1995).

• al-Hamdânî, Kitâb al-Jawharatayn al-'Atõqatayn al-Mâ'i'atayn min al-Safrâ' wa'l-Baydâ, ed. and tr. Christopher Toll, Die Beiden Edelmetalle Gold und Silber (Uppsala, 1968). Rev. G. Lecomte, Arabica 17 (1970), 319-20. Al-Hamdânî's father was mint-master in San‘â'. This is one of a series of works on each of the three kinds of property: land (K. al-Harth wa'l-Hîla); animals (K. al-Ibil); and money (K. al-Jawharatayn). Jawharatayn describes mining and minting in tenth century Yemen, but with wider importance.

• D. M. Dunlop, "Sources of Gold and Silver in Islam according to al-Hamdânî (10th Century A.D.)," Studia Islamica 8 (1957), pp. 29-49.

• H. al-Jâsir, "Kitâb al-jawharatayn al-'atîqatayn," Majallat al-Majma' al-'Ilmî al-'Arabî 26 (1961), 533-44.

fifth/eleventh century; Fatimid and Sulayhid

• Album, Checklist, 56-57.

• Sihâm Muhammad al-Mahdî,"Dõnâr Fâtimî Nâdir duriba fî Zabîd 'âm 447 h.," al-Mu'arrikh al-Misrî 2 (July 1988), 63-66. Since the texts say that Zabîd was in Najahid Sunni control, she believes this coin struck in Egypt as a propaganda coin.

• Lowick, Nicholas, "Some Unpublished Dinars of the Sulayhids and Zuray'ids," Numismatic Chronicle ser. 7, 4 (1964), 261-70.

• Bates, Michael L. "Notes on Some Isma'ili Coins from Yemen," American Numismatic Society Museum Notes 18 (1972), 149-62. Some additions to Lowick's list, and a general scheme for the entire series, mainly issued in Aden in the 11th-12th centuries.

sixth/twelfth century: Isma`ili, Najahid, Mahdid, Ayyubid

• Album, Checklist, 57-58.

• Lowick, N. M., "Coins of the Najâhids of Yemen: a Preliminary Investigation," Actes du 8ème Congrès International de Numismatique: New York-Washington, Septembre 1973 Paris-Basle, 1976), 543-51.

• Balog, Paul, The Coinage of the Ayyubids (Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication, no. 12). London, 1980. Coins issued in Yemen are on pages 283-305, varieties 927-1015. Album's popular coins has comments on the Ayyubids.

seventh/thirteenth century: Ayyubid, Zaydi, Rasulid

• Album, Checklist, 58-59.

• Stern, S. M. "Some unrecognized dirhams of the Zaidîs of the Yemen," Numismatic Chronicle ser. 6, 9 (1949), 180-88. Much revised by Lowick's article, NC 1983.

• Lowick, N. M., "The Mansûrî and the Mahdawî Dirham: Two Additions to Sauvaire's 'Matèriaux'" Numismatic Chronicle 143 (1983), 121-38 (and in his Variorum volume Coinage and History). The issues of the Rassid Imams in Sa‘da, Dhafâr, and other places in northern Yemen, 601-704 (1204-1305).


• Heinrich Nützel, Münzen der Rasuliden nebst einen abriss der geschichte dieser jemenischen dynastie. Berlin, 1891. Also Zeitschrift für Numismatik 18 (1892), 81-156. Reprint with English translation on facing pages, Coins of the Rasulids Comprising a Synopsis of the History of that Yemenite Dynasty 1891 Berlin translated by Dr. A. Kinzelbach augmented by the description of a newly dicovered [sic] Rasulid dirham hoard. Mainz: Donata Kinzelbach, 1987.

• Album, Checklist, 58. With a brief introduction and comments.

• Mitchiner, World of Islam, 228.

• Venetia Porter, "The Rasulid Sultan al-Malik al-Mansûr and the mint of Mabyan," Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 1 (1990), 38-45. Of much more general importance than one would think from the title.

• G. R. Smith, "The Yemenite Settlement of Tha'bât: historical, numismatic, and epigraphic notes," Arabian Studies 1 (1974), 119-34.

• Ahmad al-Zayla'i, "Dirâhim rasûliyya muzaffariyya nuqisha ‘alayhâ ism al-khalîfa al Musta'sim bilâh ba‘d wafâtihi: dirâsa fî maghzâhâ al-siyâsî wa-tiraz sikkihâ" Yarmouk Numismatics 5 (1993), 29-59.

• Porter, Venetia, "A Recent Acquisition of Coins of the Tahirid Sultans of the Yemen," Yarmuk Numismatics 7 (1995), 21-28. Twenty coins originally acquired in Ta'izz.

• Lachman, Samuel. "A Coin of the Tahirids of the Yemen," Spink's Numismatic Circular, 94 (1986), 223.

Zaydi and Ottoman Yemen, general

• Album, Checklist, 58-60.

• Chester L. Krause and Clifford Mishler, Standard Catalogue of World Coins. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, annual editions. This is the reference for dealers and collectors. It gives a good overview of modern Yemeni coinage. It is now organized into century volumes, one each for the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. The latter is updated annually to include new issues.

• Mitchiner, World of Islam, 229.

• G. Hochstrasser, "Zur Münztätigkeit in San'a/Jemen während der osmanischen Zeit," Schweizer Münzblatter 29, no. 114 (August 1979).

• Popp, V., G-R. Puin, and H. Wilski, "Ottoman Coins of the Yemen," in A Festschrift Presented to Ibrahim Artuk on the Occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Turkish Numismatic Society (Istanbul, 1988), 231-66.

• Serjeant, R. B. The Portuguese off the South Arabian Coast: Hadhrami Chronicles (Oxford, 1963), Appendix III, pp. 138-54.

• Dick Nauta, "Malhaz, an Ottoman camp mint in the Yemen," Oriental Numismatic Society Newsletter 140 (Spring 1994), 5-10.

• Dick Nauta, "Ottoman copper coins from al-Mokha in the Yemen," Oriental Numismatic Society Newsletter 138 (Autumn 1993), 2-5.

• Dick Nauta, "Ottoman copper coins from Kawkaban and Sa'da in the Yemen," Oriental Numismatic Society Newsletter 139 (Winter 1994), 5-9.

• Dick Nauta, "Ottoman copper coins from Zabid in the Yemen," Oriental Numismatic Society Newsletter 137 (summer 1993), [10-14].

• Dick Nauta, "Ottoman Copper Coins Minted in San'a', the Yemen: Part I: The Thin, Earlier Coins," ONS Newsletter 146 (Autumn 1995), 17-28 (Supplement). Includes important references for historical bibliography.

• Dick Nauta, "Ottoman Copper Coins Minted in San'a', the Yemen: Part II: The thick, later coins," ONS Newsletter 153 (Summer 1997), 6-12.

• Lachman, Samuel, "The Gold Coins of the Zaidi Imams of the 17th to 19th Centuries," Spink's Numismatic Circular 96 (1988), 211-12.

ninth/fifteenth century

• Lachman, Samuel, "The Use of Mameluk Coins in the Zaydi Yemen in the late 9th/15th Century," Spink's Numismatic Circular 93 (1985), 330-331.

tenth/sixteenth century

• Lachman, Samuel, "The Numismatics of the Yemen of the 10th/16th Century, Parts 1-6," Spink's Numismatic Circular 100 (1992), 113-114, 147-48, 185-86, 223-24, 263-64, 300-02.

eleventh/seventeenth century

• Lachman, Samuel, "The Period of the Early Qasimid Imams of the Yemen, 1006-1054H/1597-1644," Spink's Numismatic Circular 96 (1988), 39-43.

• Lachman, Samuel, "The Coins of the Zaidi Imam al-Mutawakkil ‘ala allah Isma'il b. al-Qasim, 1054-1087 H/1644-1676, Parts I and II," Spink's Numismatic Circular 97 (1989), 147-50, 183-185.

• Lachman, Samuel, "The Zaidi Imam al-Mahdi Ahmad b. al-Hasan, 1087-1092H/1676-1681," Spink's Numismatic Circular 96 (1988), 143-146.

twelfth/eighteenth century

• Lachman, Samuel, ""A sughrâ' on a Gold Coin of the Zaidi Imam al-Mahdi al-'Abbâs", Spink's Numismatic Circular 98, 10 (December 1990), 351. A coin of 1176 H., copying the Ottoman altin or sequin, but with authentic inscriptions including the title Amîr al-Mu'minîn.

thirteenth/nineteenth century

• Lachman, Samuel, "The Coins of the Zaidi Imams of the period 1224-1265 H/1809-1849," Spink's Numismatic Circular 98 (1990), 1-7. coinage in Mocha, 1833: [in the coffee-houses] "They pay only three or four commassées [khumâsî] for their refreshments. This small coin, and cowries, are the only currency used in the bazaars for small transactions; but Spanish dollars and German crowns are almost wholly used in larger ones; and Persian rupees, and those of Bombay and Surat, and foreign gold, are no strangers." Roberts, Embassy, 348.

• Lachman, Samuel, "A Gold Coin of the Zaidi Imam al-Mutawakkil al-Qasim b. al-Husayn," Spink's Numismatic Circular 98 (1990), 84.

fourteenth/twentieth century

• Mitchiner, World of Islam, 230-31 (Imams), 235-36 (Hadramawt), 238 (Ra's Bab al-Mandab, Shaykh Sa'id).

• Ilisch, The Turath Collection, 73-74. On gold coins of the Imams.

• Chester L. Krause and Clifford Mishler, Standard Catalogue of World Coins. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, annual editions.

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