10. Akçe, 1571 CE

The akçe was the first coin ever struck by an Ottoman ruler and the earliest evidence of its widespread production dates back to 1326 CE in the reign of Orhan Bey. By the mid-seventeenth century it was no longer common in circulation and remained more so as a unit of account [1]. In Ottoman Turkish its title translates as "white one," for its silver content, and this feature led to parallel nomenclature in both Hebrew (levanīm) and Greek (aspros). Each of the latter terms were used in this debt acknowledgment that was recorded in Ottoman Salonika in 1571 CE.

[1] Yaron Ben-Naeh, Jews in the Realm of the Sultans: Ottoman Jewish Society in the Seventeenth Century (Heidelberg: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), 29; Şevket Pamuk, A Monetary History of the Ottoman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 147.

Images provided by the Jewish Theological Seminary Library (JTSL)

1 Yiṣḥaq Romano… and Yisrael Eliya… have knowingly | ה׳׳ר יצחק רומאנו יצ׳׳ו וה׳׳ר ישראל אליה יצ׳׳ו מדעתם

2 and willingly undertaken, both of them together, each on his own behalf and on behalf of both, as a complete debt, to give and to pay | ורצונם נתחייבו שניהם יחד וכל אחד מהם בפני עצמו ובעד כלם בחוב גמור לתת ולפרוע

3 to the noble Moshe ʿAmī, may His Rock keep him and grant him life, or to his agents or to whomever produces this contract of debt on his behalf and in his name, the amount of | למעולה ה׳׳ר משה עמי יצ׳׳ו או לבאי כחו או למוציא שטר חוב זה בעדו ובשמו סך

4 1,323 levanīm in silver currency, all of them aspros beautiful and of good quality… | ...אלף ושלוש מאות ועשרים ושלשה לבנים מכסף נקראים אשפרוש כלם יפים וטובים

(ed. Avraham David, trans. Alan Elbaum and Matthew Dudley)

Akçe from the Princeton Numismatic Collection (Coin: 16485)

Denomination: akche

Metal: Silver

Region: Ottoman

Date: 1389 to 1390

Reverse Legend: خلد ملكه / ٧٩٢

Size: 14 mm

Die Axis: 1

Weight: 1.19 in grams

Shape: round

Statement on language in description: Princeton University Library aims to describe library materials in a manner that is respectful to the individuals and communities who create, use, and are represented in the collections we manage. Read more...