Dirham of Al-Mu’tadid

Photo: North Lincolnshire Museum
Issued by: Al-Mu’tadid
Denomination: Dirham
Mint: Al-Shash
Period: Anglo-Saxon
Date found: 01/05/2022
Location: Selby, North Yorkshire


Detectorist Paul Cannon found this coin a couple of weeks ago near Selby. The PAS record credits him with identifying it as a dirham of Al-Mu’tadid of the Abbasid Caliphate. The coin dates to AD 900/901 and Paul suggests the find “must indicate Viking trade links to have been discovered in Yorkshire“. It has been designated a Find of Note of Regional Importance.

Helpfully the coin is dated 288 AH. The AH refers to the Muslim (or Hijri ) calendar and corresponds to AD 900/901. The Abbasid Caliphate was centred on modern day Iraq from 750 – 1258. Al-Mu’tatid was caliph from 892 until his death in 902.

Abbasid Caliphate 891-2. Image by Ro4444 CC By SA4.0

The map shows the extend of the Abbasid caliphate when Al-Mu’tatid came to power; the darker green were core territory controlled by central government while the lighter green had autonomous governors.