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About Numismatics


Azerbaijan numismatics 

The statehood’s history of Azerbaijan begins since ancient times. One of the factors proving ancient Azerbaijani statehood is local coins minted in Albania (Caucasus Albania) and Atropatena states existed in its territory. The first coins found in the territory of Azerbaijan belong to period of Alexander of Macedonia. In the second half of the third century BC Albanians and Atropotenians already joined the international trade began to mint local coins similar to coins of Alexander in order to meet the needs of domestic market. In this and subsequent periods AT and ATR monogrammed (numismatists read it as Atropatena or Atropat) silver dirhams (drahmas) have been found in a wide range of areas of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Dagestan. Scientists assume that those coins were minted in mints of Gabala, Ardabil and other places. At the same time in Albania circulation of money similar to silver coins of Seleucids comes to II-I centuries BC. In the second half of the III century, the major territory of Azerbaijan was occupied by the Sasanian Empire. However, in the VI-VII centuries Sasanian kings minted their own silver dirhams in Nakhichevan. But at the same time, the Caliphate, which defeated the Sasanians subjugated Azerbaijan, too. In the early years of the history of the Caliphate (VII-IX centuries) money circulation, especially gold and copper coins minting was centralized. At the same time silver dirhams of the Caliphate were minted in Azerbaijan, too.



Weakening of the Caliphate and the feudal division which began at result of the Seljuk marches led to creation of a number of independent small states at the beginning of the X century. On coins of these states dependent of other countries’ rulers as vassal (usually in silver dirhams) the name of suzerain was also mentioned on coins. Thus, for example, since XI century on one side of coins minted by Shirvanshas in Shamakhy the names of the religious leader of Abbasi caliphate, Seljuk sultan and in other side name of Shirvanshah were written. However, accompaniment of names of Shirvanshahs on coins with luxury nicknames show the independence of the feudal state as famous ruler. 
Similarly, at the time Sajids minted their silver dirhams in Barda, Salaris in Ardabil, Shaddadids in Ganja, Ravvadids in Tabriz. In XII-XIII centuries copper dirhams of Seljuk and Atabek states were minted the territory of Azerbaijan. At result of Mongol marches taking place in the XII century Azerbaijan turned to be a center of the fifth method of Mongols Hulakis (Elkhanies) state. Silver dirhams of Hulakis were minted mainly in Nakhichevan and Barda. In sample of Hulakis state the difference of attitude to coin minting in the East and the West seems clear. It is known that almost every feudal state of Middle Ages in Europe had their own mint and for the sake of short-term profit they sacrificed their national interests. And in the East in addition to the ceremony in khutba reading the coin minting was also considered as a symbol of the state. Therefore, though the actual ruler of Hulakus state in the XIV century was Chobani feudals but khutba reading and coin minting were implemented not on their behalf but on behalf of Hulaku princes. In the fourteenth century, Azerbaijan became the center of Jalairis who defeated Hulakus. Jalairis mainly minted its silver dirhams in Baku, Shabran, Qarqar and Qaraagajy. At the end of the fourteenth century, the territory of Azerbaijan was subjected to attacks of the Golden Horde and the Teymurids, which replaced each other. However, the occupants paid special attention to the coin minting. Thus, for example, in 1356 the Golden Horde khan Janibey, that occupied Tabriz, began to mint his coins with showing Tabriz as own territory, and date of minting. However, at the end, early of XV century Teymurids and his vassals Qaraqoyunlus   won this war and occupied Azerbaijan. For the first time Garagoyunlus minted silver tangas in Astara on behalf of Teymurid rulers. A little later than those silver tangas began to be minted in Anatolia on the name Garagoyunlu rulers, who felt self free. But soon in the second half of the XV century as a result of the collapse of the state of Garagoyunlus Aggoyunlus state was formed. Aghgoyunlu sultans also minted their silver tangas (for example, in Erzincan). It should be noted that Shirvansahs that lived the last period of its independence minted own silver tangas in Shamakhy, too.  
At the beginning of the XV century Azerbaijan became the center of the newly established Safavid state. Coins minted by Safavi rulers at different times and places (Tabriz, Ganja, Shamakhy, Ordubad, and Nakhchivan) were different: the gold ashrafi, two shahy silver money, silver mohammadi, silver abbasi, silver panjshahı etc. Safavid state had were very close trade links with Northern and Central European countries. This is confirmed by the special numismatic materials. For example, the treasure of Mirik money revealed in Azerbaijan, was minted in 1541-1572 and consists of Western European talers. According to the composition the coins in treasure were very different: there were coins minted in Germany (Schwebia, Bohemia, Bavaria, Frizia, Saxony, Cologne, Dresden, Nuremberg, Hamburg, etc.), Austria, Switzerland (Zurich), Belgium (Liege) and other countries’ dukedoms.
As a result of weakening of the Safavid state in the beginning of the XVIII century, Azerbaijan mainly was divided in the number of closed life-lasting khanates. Of course, at this time there was no single monetary system. Almost in all the big cities, special copper and silver coins of khans were minted: for example, in Shaki (Sheki khanate) copper fulus and silver, half-abbasi, in Shusha (Karabakh Khanate), in Guba (Guba khanate), in Derbend (Derbent khanate), in Nakhchivan (Nakhchivan khanate) and in Tabriz (Tabriz khanate) silver abbasi, in Ganja (Ganja khanate) half-abbasi and silver abbasi, copper fulus, in Baku (Baku khanate) copper fulus, etc. This money had no a fixed price, too and money of each khanate was used in own territory as  main money and in other territory it lost value significantly. In 1828, as a result of the khanates disorder according to Turkmenchay Treaty signed between Russia and Iran, Azerbaijan was divided into two parts: the North Azerbaijan united to Russia and South Azerbaijan to Iran.
Joining of Azerbaijan to the Russian Empire coincided with the time of beginning of capitalism. Thus, the State Bank of the Russian Empire was established in 1860 and a year later its Baku branch was opened. The main purpose of the branch was to accelerate the development of the credit system and the expansion of trade turnover. Baku Branch of the State Bank carried out transactions like accounting and accounting bills, loans and granting of credit against pledging of goods etc. At the same time in all parts of the empire as a means of payment along with coins so called rubles state tickets were used, too.  
At the end of the nineteenth century in comparison with other regions of the Caucasus, Azerbaijan has most developed credit-bank system inherent to the structure of the capital.  
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the credit system united over 200 credit departments. Among them were 28 branches of commercial credit banks, 7 mortgage bank, 8 mutual credit societies, 5 bank departments, 135 small credit entities and a number of savings bank. During this period, unification of the bank and industrial (oil industry) capital was observed. For example, 15 Russian and foreign banks participated in 1917 in oil projects implemented by the Nobel brothers.

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