Nelson J. asks: Help! I’m looking for a coin from described as “currency of the mayor of Tripoli”. The comment is from a document written in Arabic in 1893 in Lebanon and the coin is also referred as “ghersh” (free translation from Arabic) later on. The “Tripoli” in question is in present day Lebanon but was part of Syria in 1893. Any ideas how I can find information on this coin or even a specimen?
The denomination gersh appears in Ethiopian coinage and the ghurush appears in Tripoli (in present day Libya) during the domination by the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The silver ghurush or piastre (19.5 grams) was introduced by Suleyman II in 1687 as a light weight competitor to the European Thaler. The coin was essentially a trade unit and fractional units divided it in the following manner:
- 3 akce = 1 para
- 40 para=1 ghurush
- 80 para= double ghurush
- 100 para = 1 yuzlik
Almost all of that area of North Africa including Tripoli, Tunis, Egypt, and Algiers were vassals of the Ottoman Empire until World War I. I don’t know the exact reference to the “currency of the mayor of Tripoli”, but now you some information to help you continue your research.