Obituary: Ömer Diler, 1945-2005

by Emine Nur Diler

Born in Istanbul in 1945, Ömer Diler was educated as a chemical engineer but became interested in coins when he was given a rare Ottoman gold coin as a present in 1972, and thus his first numismatic interest was Ottoman currency. Long years spent at antique shops sifting through thousands of copper, silver, and gold coins—before they ended up in the melting pot—gave him a sound base of numismatic experience. He became astute at pinpointing mints, shrewd at differentiating the real from the fake, and adept at spotting the rare coin. His interests led him to learn Ottoman Turkish and Arabic, and his focus also changed from solely Ottoman numismatics to the much wider field of Islamic numismatics. He read extensively in his ever growing library, comparing his readings with coin samples. His earlier interest in collecting faded and was replaced by his research. His extensive work on Islamic mints continued to the end of his life. Eventually, his interest in the Ilkhanids surpassed his other interests; his book on the topic had been completed, and he was working on the corrections when he passed away. Now published, his Ilkhans: Coinage of the Persian Mongols will join his earlier book Titles and Epithets of Islamic Towns / Sehir Lakaplari (2001) as a definitive study. Another work that was near completion when he died, Islamic Mints, a reference book covering thousands of mints, will be published in the near future as well. Diler was the ANS’s Contributing Editor from Turkey for quite a number of years, and he served in this capacity for a number of other journals as well. He published articles frequently in many journals and was a frequent speaker at international numismatic conventions. He was one of those people who abandoned his profession for his hobby and made his hobby his profession. A meticulous and dedicated numismatist, Diler died of lung cancer on March 18, 2005.

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