The Coinage of the Mangit Dynasty of Bukhara

by Peter Donovan

Fig. A. Entrance to the emir’s palace in Old Bukhara. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs, LC-P87-8072)


The Mangits (Manghits) were an Uzbek tribe who in the late eighteenth century gradually assumed power in Bukhara from the Janid dynasty. Numismatically, the Mangit dynasty of Bukhara began in AH 1200 (AD 1785) with the currency of Shah Murad. Following the Russian revolution, the Khanate of Bukhara became the Bukhara People’s Soviet Republic in AH 1339 (AD 1920). This was dissolved in 1924, and the territory was divided between the new Soviet Republics of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

Fig. 1. Map of Transoxania, after Kennedy (2002, 42).

The map of Transoxania (Fig. 1) shows the location and extent of the Khanate at some point in the nineteenth century. In reality, the boundaries fluctuated up to the time of Russian intervention, mainly due to almost constant skirmishing between the Mangits and their northern neighbors, the Khanates of Khiva and Kokand. The similarity to present-day Afghanistan’s many tribes and warlords is striking.

Fig. B. On the Registan, Samarkand. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs, LC-P87-8002)

Historical Background

The first Mangit Khan of Bukhara was Muhammad Rahim (1753-1758). His father, Muhammad Hakim Biy, had been the effective regent under the weak Janid ruler Abuʾl-Fayz Khan (1705-1747). Following Persian intercession by the Afsharid Nadir Shah to put a stop to Cossack raids on Bukhara—and the resulting anarchy—Hakim Biy’s status was confirmed. After the death of Hakim Biy in 1743, unrest again broke out, and Muhammad Rahim, who had pledged allegiance to, and gained the respect of, the Persian Shah, was sent to restore order. After the death of Nadir Shah in 1747, Muhammad Rahim murdered Abuʾl-Fayz and put Abuʾl-Fayz’s nine-year-old son on the throne—then, in 1751, killed him and installed a child, the Chingizid ʾUbayd-Allah, in his place. Meanwhile, Muhammad Rahim had married the daughter of Abuʾl-Fayz, the man he had murdered, and in 1753, the clergy and nobles of Bukhara persuaded him to accept the title of Khan.

Upon the death of Muhammad Rahim in 1758, power devolved to his uncle, Muhammad Daniyal Biy. After quashing a series of uprisings, Daniyal installed a Janid puppet, Abuʾl-Ghazi (1758-1785), but effectively ruled as vizir. Daniyal next contrived to replace Abuʾl-Ghazi, who had not yet died, with his nephew, Murad, the son of Muhammad Rahim. This move was legitimized by the marriage of Murad to the daughter of Abuʾl-Ghazi. Daniyal died in 1771. Thereafter, the Mangit succession, descended from Genghis Khan, went from father to son, as follows:

  • Muhammad Rahim (AH 1167-1172; AD 1753-1758)
  • Shah Murad (AH 1200-1215; AD 1784-1801), son of Rahim
  • Haydar Tora (AH 1215-1242; AD 1800-1826), son of Murad
  • Husayn (AH 1242; AD 1826), the eldest son of Haydar
  • Nasr Allah (AH 1242-1277; AD 1826-1860), the youngest son of Haydar
  • Muzaffar al-Din (AH 1277-1303; AD 1860-1886), son of Nasr Allah
  • ʿAbd al-Ahad (AH 1303-1329; AD 1886-1910), son of Muzaffar
  • ʿAlim Khan (AH 1329-1338; AD 1910-1920), son of ʿAbd al-Ahad

For a more detailed account of Mangit history, see Fedorov (2002).

Fig. C. Sentry at the emir’s palace in Old Bukhara. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs, LC-P87-8073)

The Coinage

Mangit coinage consists of gold tillas and silver tengas, together with copper fulus and their multiples, although in the last dying years of the dynasty there was an explosion of copper, bronze, and brass units.

The tilla, weighing approximately 4.6 g, is known only in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The name is derived from the Persian tala (gold). The tenga (c. 3.2 g) is a corruption of the Sanskrit tanka, a common denomination in India and Persia.

So far, sixty-four coin types have been recognized, not including the date varieties, and there are undoubtedly more than this. The illustrations in this article are all from the ANS collection, which holds 228 Mangit coins. The majority of these (157) came from a donation by Prof. Edward Allworth of Columbia University in 2000. William Spengler had previously donated twenty-nine coins in 1968 and 1997. The remaining forty-two coins are from smaller gifts of up to seven coins, apart from a group of eight tengas purchased from Dr. Robert Göbl in 1959.

With the exception of only two types of Haydar Tora tengas, all Mangit coins are inscribed “Bukhara” on the reverse, and the tillas and tengas, as well as the AE 20 tenga of AH 1337, also carry the honorific “sharif” (noble), describing Bukhara.

The inscriptions are in Persian. Following the reforms of Shah Murad in 1787, Koranic references were omitted from Mangit coinage. This major change soon spread to other parts of Central Asia. Compare, for example, the Bukharan pre-reform tilla of the Janid Abuʾl-Ghazi, dated 1181, with the Kalima on the obverse (Fig. 2), with the AH 1216 tilla of Haydar Tora (Fig. 3, obv.).

Fig. 2. Janid. ʿAbu’l-Ghazi. AV tilla, 1181. (ANS 1960.145.1, purchase) 24 mm, 4.6 g.

Fig. 3. Mangit. Haydar Tora. AV tilla, 1216, regnal year 2. (ANS 1960.145.2, purchase) 24 mm, 4.6 g.

There are other interesting idiosyncrasies of Mangit coinage. First, the ruler normally did not use his own name on a coin, but rather named an ancestor. The exceptions are all the tengas and some of the tillas of Haydar and the tilla and tenga of Husayn (1826) (Fig. 7), which do carry their own names. Otherwise, Shah Murad and Haydar name either Abuʾl-Ghazi (Figs. 3 and 5, obvs.) or Daniyal (Fig. 4, obv.); Nasr Allah, Muzaffar al-Din, and ʿAbd al-Ahad all name either Ghazi or Haydar; and ʿAlim Khan names Ghazi only.

Fig. 4. Mangit. Haydar Tora. AV tilla, 1229. (ANS 1917.215.2868, gift of E. T. Newell) 22 mm, 4.6 g.

Fig. 5. Mangit. Haydar Tora. AV tilla, 1235. (ANS 2000.7.294, gift of Prof. E. Allworth) 20 mm, 4.5 g.

Fig. 6. Mangit. Haydar Tora. AR tenga, 1236. (ANS 0000.999.18117) 14 mm, 3.2 g.

Fig. 7. Mangit. Husayn. AR tenga, 1242/1241. (ANS 1977.71.42, gift of W. Spengler) 18 mm, 2.9 g.

The second peculiarity is that most, but not all, of the coin types have a numerical date on both sides. Furthermore, there is a widespread occurrence of different dates on the obverse and reverse of the same coin. For example, a tenga of Husayn bears the date 1242 on the obverse and 1241 on the reverse (Fig. 7). Husayn did not rule in AH 1241, and ruled for only for seventy-five days in AH 1242 before being murdered by his brothers. Another example (Fig. 8) shows a tilla of Nasr Allah, with 1248 on the obverse and 1246 on the reverse. These dating inconsistencies are presumably due to the careless recycling of old dies by the mint workers.

Fig. 8. Mangit. Nasr Allah. AV tilla, 1248/1246. (ANS 2000.7.295, gift of Prof. E. Allworth) 23 mm, 4.5 g.

Finally, there are some eccentricities in the numerals found on Mangit coins. The numeral 0 is written as a circle (o) instead of a large dot (.) (e.g., Fig. 9, obv.). The numeral 5 is often written as u or j (e.g., Fig. 5, obv.), and the numeral 6 is written with a pronounced tilt to the right (e.g., Fig. 3, obv., and Fig. 8, rev.).

Fig. 9. Mangit. Muzaffar al-Din. AR tenga, 1301/129x. (ANS 2000.7.305, gift of Prof. E. Allworth) 17 mm, 3.1 g.

The most complete account of Mangit coinage is given in two Russian papers by Burnasheva (1967, 1972), based on approximately four thousand coins in the Hermitage, the Historical Museum in Moscow, and the History Museum of Uzbekistan, but the listing is not exhaustive. In particular, the copper coins are not always illustrated. Other sources are Album (1998), without any illustrations, and the three catalogs of Krause and Mishler. The writer is in the process of preparing a concordance of these sources, which will be published elsewhere and which will include some hitherto unpublished types.

Fig. D. Bureaucrat from Bukhara. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs, LC-P87-8085)

Mangit Coins in the ANS Cabinet

The ANS does not have any coins of Muhammad Rahim, which are of the Janid type, and holds only a counterfeit tenga of Shah Murad. The coins of these rulers are all rare. The ANS collection includes three types of tilla of Haydar Tora (Figs. 3-5), which display an inventive decorative style—including the beautiful teardrop design believed to be unique to Mangit coinage. However, there is only one type of Haydar tenga, dated 1236, inscribed “Said Haydar amir” on the obverse (Fig. 6). Haydar issued six types of fals weighing 4.6 g, as well as a 2 fulus of 9.2 g in AH 1228. The ANS collection has none of these. Husayn issued a tilla and tenga in his own name, but no copper. The ANS has a teardrop tenga of Husayn inscribed “Said Husayn amir” on the obverse (Fig. 7).

Nasr Allah then set the tone for the coinage of the next two reigns. He issued a tilla in the name of the late Abuʾl-Ghazi, inscribed “Rahmat bad bir Maʾsum Ghazi” (“mercy on the late Ghazi”) (Fig. 8).

Muzaffar al-Din became a vassal of Russia in AH 1284, but the tilla and tenga (Fig. 9) remained identical to those of his father during his entire rule. These tengas were issued in the name of the late Haydar, inscribed “Amir Haydar marhum ʿaqabat Mahmud,” the precise meaning of which is debatable. However, there appears to be a different fals.

ʿAbd al-Ahad continued to issue the same tilla and tenga (Fig. 10) types, but issued no copper coins until AH 1318/9 (a hiatus of thirty years), when the weight of the fals was reduced to 2.6 g.

Fig. 10. Mangit. ʿAbd al-Ahad. AR tenga, 1304. (ANS 1959.165.400, purchase, ex Gobl) 17 mm, 3.2 g.

ʿAlim Khan issued tillas of the same type for the first three years of his rule and issued no silver tengas at all.

Starting in AH 1322 (AD 1904/5), there was a major reform of base-metal coinage. Keeping the same weight of 2.6 g, two new types were issued. The first type has the numeral “32” (sometimes wrongly engraved as 33, or 23, or even 302) on the obverse (Fig. 11). The second type has “2” on the obverse (Fig. 12). The reverses of both types have the inscription “fulus Bukhara” and the date.

Fig. 11. Mangit. ʿAlim Khan. AE 2 fulus, 1331. (ANS 1920.153.103, gift of E. T. Newell, ex Hoernle) 14 mm, 2.30 g.

Fig. 12. Mangit. ʿAlim Khan. AE 2 fulus, 1332. (ANS 2000.7.947, gift of Prof. E. Allworth) 13 mm, 2.27 g.

Burnasheva (1972, 78) considers that both are 2-fulus pieces. In the first type, “32” is taken to mean that there are thirty-two of these coins to a tenga, which, at the going rate of sixty-four fals to a tenga, indicates that the coin is a 2-fulus. The “2” in the second type simply means two fulus. Fedorov (2002, 18), however, interprets these two coin types differently, designating them both as one new fals equal in value to two old ones.

Burnasheva’s argument is more compelling, in view of the fact that the word “fulus” and not “fals” appears on the coins, the former being the plural of the latter. Nevertheless, it remains to explain why these two coins were issued simultaneously in some years (AH 1322, 1324, 1330, and 1332), whereas the type with “32” appears to have been issued exclusively in some intervening years (AH 1323, 1327-1329, 1331, as well as in 1333).

Then in AH 1333, the weight of the second type (“2”) fell by almost 50 percent to 1.35 g. These lighter coins are also characterized by a double circle around the “2” (Fig. 13), whereas the older heavier coin has a single circle (Fig. 12). These lighter coins are probably simply devalued 2-fulus coins. This new type has apparently not been recorded elsewhere. The ANS collection has a total of five of these pieces, three with a clear date and the other two with an illegible date but having the reduced weight and double circle.

Fig. 13. Mangit. ʿAlim Khan. AE 2 fulus, 1334. (ANS 1977.71.43, gift of W. Spengler) 12 mm, 1.35 g.

In AH 1334, a 4-fulus piece was introduced. This weighed slightly less than the 2-fulus pieces, which were discontinued. The ten ANS specimens of this date range from 2.06 g to 2.53 g, averaging 2.23 g (Fig. 14). However, in AH 1335, the weight of the 4-fulus piece was reduced by almost 50 percent (Fig. 15). The five specimens in the ANS collection range from 1.24 g to 1.39 g, averaging 1.33 g. There are no obvious differences between the two types apart from the weight. In 1335, an 8-fulus piece was introduced (Fig. 16). This weight corresponded with the weight of the earlier 4-fulus piece. The eight ANS specimens of this date range from 2.04 g to 2.30 g, averaging 2.23 g. Note that, unlike the 2-fulus pieces, there is no ambiguity about the denominations of the 4- and 8-fulus coins, which have their value written in Persian on the obverse.

Fig. 14. Mangit. ʿAlim Khan. AE 4 fulus, 1334. (ANS 2000.7.908, gift of Prof. E. Allworth) 16 mm, 2.5 g.

Fig. 15. Mangit. ʿAlim Khan. AE 4 fulus, 1335. (ANS 2000.7.932, gift of Prof. E. Allworth) 15 mm, 1.3 g.

Fig. 16. Mangit. ʿAlim Khan. AE 8 fulus, 1335. (ANS 2000.7.328, gift of Prof. E. Allworth) 17 mm, 2.2 g.

Following the Russian revolution in AH 1336 (AD 1917), Bukhara became quasi-independent, and an entirely new base-metal tenga coinage was issued, including a half tenga (Fig. 17), a tenga (Fig. 18), 2-tengas (Fig. 19), 3-tengas (Fig. 20), 4-tengas, 5-tengas, 10-tengas (Fig. 21), and 20-tengas (Fig. 22). The denominations are written in Persian on the obverse. The larger denominations (2- to 20-tengas) are brass or bronze, as opposed to all the previous fals copper coins, and the weights are erratic, suggesting that the short-lived currency, last dated AH 1338 (AD 1919), was a form of Notgeld, which ended when the Soviets reestablished Russian power and abolished the Khanate on October 6, 1920.

Fig. 17. Mangit. ʿAlim Khan. AE half tenga, date off flan. (ANS 2000.7.946, gift of Prof. E. Allworth) 13 mm, 1.3 g.

Fig. 18. Mangit. ʿAlim Khan. AE tenga, 1336. (ANS 1977.71.39, gift of W. Spengler) 19 mm, 2.1 g.

Fig. 19. Mangit. ʿAlim Khan. AE 2 tengas, 1336. (ANS 1977.71.25, gift of W. Spengler) 23 mm, 4.4 g.

Fig. 20. Mangit. ʿAlim Khan. AE 3 tengas, 1336. (ANS 1968.135.7, gift of W. Spengler) 26 mm, 6.8 g.

Fig. 21. Mangit. ʿAlim Khan. AE 10 tengas, 1337. (ANS 1968.135.8, gift of W. Spengler) 30 mm, 4.4 g.

Fig. 22. Mangit. ʿAlim Khan. AE 20 tengas, 1337. (ANS 1954.239.1, gift of Mrs H. A. Winner) 33 mm, 8.4 g.


(1) There is a need for an up-to-date study of the copper fals coinage of the Mangits, with photographs of each type.

(2) The ANS is looking for the following coins to round out and strengthen its collection of Mangit coinage: 1. A tilla of Muhammad Rahim 2. Any tilla or tenga of Shah Murad 3. A teardrop/octagon tilla of Haydar Tora 4. A mir or amir tenga of Haydar Tora 5. Any fals of Haydar 6. A 2-fulus of Haydar 7. A tilla of Husayn 8. Any fals of Nasr Allah 9. A tilla of Muzaffar al-Din 10. A fals of Muzaffar al-Din 11. A tilla of ʿAlim Khan 12. A 4- and 5-tenga of ʿAlim Khan

Fig. E. Kush-Beggi, the minister of the interior. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs, LC-P87-8067)

Fig. F. Fabric merchant in Samarkand. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs, LC-P87-8001A)

Fig. G. Group of Jewish children with their teacher in Samarkand. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs, LC-P87-8066)

Fig. H. Kebab restaurant in Samarkand. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs, LC-P87-8012A)

Fig. I. Fruit and spice stand in Samarkand. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs, LC-P87-8005)

Fig. J. Portion of Shir-Dar minaret and its dome from Tillia-Kari in Samarkand. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs, LC-P87-8006A)

Fig. K. Sart woman at Samarkand. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs, LC-P87-8011A)

Fig. L. Interior view from the country palace of the emir of Bukhara. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs, LC-P87-8098)


The advice and help of Michael Bates and Robert Hoge of the ANS is gratefully acknowledged.


Album, S. 1998. A Checklist of Islamic Coins, 2nd ed. Bosworth, C. E. 1996. The New Islamic Dynasties. New York: Columbia University Press.

Bregel, Y. 1988. S.v. “Mangit/Mangits” in Encylopaedia of Islam, new ed., 6: 417-419.

Burnasheva, R. 1967. Monety Bukharskogo Khanstva pri Mangytakh: Epigrafika Vostoka, 18: 113-128. 4 plates, 3 tables. (Shah Murad, Haydar Tora, and Husayn).

Burnasheva, R. 1972. Monety Bukharskogo Khanstva pri Mangytakh: Epigrafika Vostoka, 21:69-80. 4 tables (Nasr Allah, Muzaffar, ʿAbd al-Ahad, and ʿAlim Khan).

Davidovich, E. A. 1964. Istoriia Monetnogo Dela Srednei Azii XVII-XVIII vv. [Gold and Silver of the Janids]. Dushanbe.

Fedorov, M. 2002. “Money circulation under the Janids and Manghits of Bukhara, and the Khans of Khoqand and Khiva.” Supplement to ONS Newsletter 171.

Kennedy, H., ed. 2002. An Historical Atlas of Islam. Brill.

Krause, C. L., and C. Mishler. 2002. Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1701-1800, 3rd ed.

Krause, C. L., and C. Mishler. 2004. Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 4th ed.

Krause, C. L., and C. Mishler. 2005. Standard Catalog of World Coins, 32th ed.

Lane-Poole, S. 1882. The Coinage of Bukhara in the British Museum: The Mangit Dynasty, 74-85. (No AE coins listed).

Torrey, C. C. 1950. “Gold coins of Khokand and Bukhara.” Numismatic Notes and Monographs 117.

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, self-portrait on the Karolitskhali River, 1915. Figures A-L were taken by the Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) around 1908, in areas ruled by the Mangits and their brethren. A chemist by education, Prokudin-Gorskii developed techniques for producing early color film slides and motion pictures. His process used a camera that took a series of monochrome pictures in rapid sequence, each through a differently colored filter. By projecting all three monochrome pictures using correctly colored light, it was possible to reconstruct the original scene in color. Since the red, green, and blue images were taken of the subject at slightly different times, any stray movement within the camera’s field of view showed up in the prints as multiple “ghosted” images. Around 1905, Prokudin-Gorskii received a travel grant from Tsar Nicholas II to systematically document the Russian Empire using his color projection techniques, in order to educate the schoolchildren of Russia about the empire’s cultural and economic diversity. Over the next decade, he visited regions as remote as the Emirate of Bukhara while completing this task. Following the revolution of 1918, Prokudin-Gorskii left Russia and eventually settled in Paris. The Library of Congress purchased his collection of nearly two thousand color images in 1948.

For Further Reading